Florida agriculture commissioner Nikki Fried (D), who is running to become the state's next governor, likened Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.
"Instead of listening and trying to govern with the people, he is trying to govern over the people, and, you know, that, I’m sorry, I’m a student of history, too. I saw the rise of Hitler," Fried told podcast cohost Melissa Ross on "The Florida Roundup" Friday about DeSantis.
When pressed about whether she was making a direct comparison between DeSantis and Hitler, Fried said, "In a lot of ways, yes."
"I have studied Hitler and how he got to power, you know, wanting his own militia," she said, referring to DeSantis' proposal to re-establish the Florida State Guard to aid in "state-specific emergencies" such as hurricanes and other natural disasters.
A state guard, which was disbanded in Florida in 1947, is used by 22 other states in cases of emergencies.
"The reason why this governor wants it is different than the other states that have been utilizing it for emergency purposes," Fried claimed. "This governor is doing it for the sole purposes of power and doing so to make fear and . . . blaming certain parts of our society and culture, and that’s exactly what Hitler did to the Jews back during World War II."
Hoo Boy... It's one thing to *read* that Nikki Fried compared Ron DeSantis to Hitler; completely another to blow by several offramps en route to that comparison. Will media cover? pic.twitter.com/bMYDowcZGD— Jorge Bonilla (@BonillaJL) January 15, 2022
Fried said later in the interview that she did not believe the scope of DeSantis' power would extend to the level of Hitler's during his reign as the leader in Germany.
"Do I think that we are going to get to the extent of Hitler’s power? Of course not, but the rise of his power and what he did to scapegoat certain parts and certainly the Jewish community in Germany and how he utilized going after the media, going after and scapegoating people and blaming people and putting fear and taking over the military. That’s what this governor is doing," Fried explained.
DeSantis press secretary Christina Pushaw slammed Fried's remarks, saying that the comparison to Hitler is "as offensive as it is absurd."
"With this hysterical comparison, Fried not only smears millions of Floridians as Nazis, but also trivializes Hitler's crimes against humanity," Pushaw said in a statement to Fox News.
Fried is among the Democratic candidates looking to unseat DeSantis in the 2022 gubernatorial election. An October poll by BUSR/Susquehanna Polling and Research put the current governor as a 10-point favorite over Fried and gave him a 3-point edge over Rep. Charlie Crist.