Rep. Ron DeSantis, the Republican contender for Florida’s gubernatorial race in the upcoming midterm elections, has spoken four times at a conference organized by conservative activist David Horowitz, The Washington Post reported.
Only one of DeSantis’ speaking engagements at the annual David Horowitz Freedom Center Restoration Weekend conferences had been known about previously, the Post said. The organization’s regular speakers include figures like former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulis, Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka and Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders.
Horowitz is known for opposing any type of reparation for slavery and propagates the notion that whites in America are consistently victims of a race war that he calls “black skin privilege.” He also frequently discusses his anti-Muslim views, once calling Palestinians Nazis.
At last year’s conference, DeSantis spoke alongside people including British conservative media activist Katie Hopkins, who complained about the “Muslim mafia” invading the U.K. as well as Sadiq Khan, the “pocket-size Muslim mayor of Londonistan.”
DeSantis, who is backed by President Donald Trump, came under fire following the Florida primary last month for making racist dog-whistle jabs at his opponent, Andrew Gillum.
“The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state,” DeSantis said on Fox News after calling Gillum “articulate.”
A spokeswoman for the congressman, Elizabeth Fusick, defended DeSantis as “a leader in standing up for truth and American strength” in a statement to the Post.
Horowitz accused people of launching a “lynch mob” against DeSantis.
“Saying a black person is articulate is not racist — it’s praising him for him being articulate,” Horowitz told the newspaper. “Are there no inarticulate blacks?’’