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DeSantis Staffer Fired After Sharing Video of Governor in Front of Nazi Imagery

The video included DeSantis’s head juxtaposed over a Sonnenrad, with soldiers marching in the foreground.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks to guests at the Family Leadership Summit on July 14, 2023, in Des Moines, Iowa.

An employee of Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R-Florida) presidential campaign was fired on Tuesday after he produced a video featuring Nazi imagery and posted it on Twitter.

Nate Hochman, who served as a speechwriter for the DeSantis campaign and previously wrote for the right-wing publication The National Review, created a meme-filled video promoting DeSantis and disparaging former President Donald Trump, the GOP frontrunner for the 2024 presidential nomination. He then shared the video with a DeSantis-supporting Twitter account, which posted the video on its profile. Shortly after Hochman retweeted the video, it was removed from the original account.

The first half of the video, which is still viewable on some accounts, portrays Trump as not being far enough to the right. The second half of the video features positive headlines — from a far right perspective — of DeSantis, praising him for enacting legislation targeting LGBTQ people. The video also includes militaristic imagery, depicting soldiers marching alongside DeSantis.

At that point, DeSantis’s head is placed in the center of a Sonnenrad, an ancient European symbol that was appropriated by the German Nazi Party and that is frequently used today by white supremacists.

When asked about the incident by Axios, a spokesperson for the DeSantis campaign acknowledged Hochman’s video but refused to comment further.

“Nate Hochman is no longer with the campaign. And we will not be commenting on him further,” the spokesperson said.

DeSantis has continually showcased his fascistic leanings as governor, historians have pointed out.

“I don’t use the F word, the fascist word, too often,” Ruth Ben-Ghiat, an expert on fascism and authoritarianism, said last month. “But Ron DeSantis, I have called him many times ‘the Florida fascist.’ He will make himself to be anything he thinks will help him to get ahead. This is what Mussolini did.”

Ben-Ghiat then cited the DeSantis administration’s moves to limit the teaching of factual history, particularly about the role of racism and white supremacy in the U.S.

“When a child or a college student reads about racial discrimination, they may feel a spark of injustice and want to do something about it,” Ben-Ghiat said. “That’s what Ron DeSantis doesn’t want to happen. He wants to create a kind of passive, ignorant population.”

Historian Barbara Ransby echoed these sentiments in an op-ed for Truthout in January.

“In attacking African American studies, DeSantis has taken one more step toward not only a full-on embrace of white nationalism and authoritarianism, but also toward situating himself in a truly ‘alternative reality,’ where facts don’t matter, research is irrelevant, expertise is sidelined, and young people are scurrilously miseducated,” Ransby wrote. She added:

DeSantis’s dangerous actions are textbook proto-fascist measures. … [His] actions are about intimidation, silencing potential dissident voices, preempting critical thinking from young people that might lead to informed political action, and flexing his muscle to silence voices that do not echo his own.

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