Just days before Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) announced he was running for president, the NAACP made what was almost certainly a political move out of desperation to be relevant by announcing a "travel advisory." It claimed that "Florida is openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals." As it turns out, many of the organization's board members have vacationed in Florida, and the Chairman of the Board of Directors Leon Russell lives in Tampa. There's also been another damning update, as three black Republican state legislators have come forward to denounce how their names were included in a letter from Florida's Legislative Black Caucus indicating the caucus "stand[s] in solidarity with the NAACP’s travel advisory."
As Florida's Voice reported on Wednesday, Reps. Berny Jacques, Kiyan Michael, and Webster Barnaby issued a joint statement, reading in part: "We are not members of the Black Caucus nor do we have any interest in becoming members. We call on the Black Caucus to end any usage of our names that would suggest that we are members or in agreement with their agenda."
The letter clearly includes the state representatives mentioned above, as indicated on the left-hand side of the letter when listing our members. The caucus is mostly comprised of Democrats, though Republican state Sen. Corey Simon is a member, Florida's Voice reported.
Florida Politics also noted in covering the joint statement that Barnaby "has been a part of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus, though not an active one."
"We never gave permission for our names to be used, and we strongly disavow both the NAACP travel advisory and the Black Caucus statement," the joint statement continued. "We strongly stand with Governor DeSantis in his fight against woke ideology. His leadership in Florida has led to expanded school choice, record low crime rates, and record low unemployment. These are results that all Floridians can be proud of!"
We strongly stand with Governor DeSantis in his fight against woke ideology. His leadership in Florida has led to expanded school choice, record low crime rates, and record low unemployment. These are results that all Floridians can be proud of! https://t.co/mxDUzDVlky— Berny Jacques (@BernyJacques) May 24, 2023
All of the members in question tweeted out coverage of their joint statement, as well as some tweets of their own about how they really feel.
I won’t hold my breath for the @NAACP’s input in presenting any policies, plans, or strategies to decrease high crimes rates in urban cities, encourage strong families w/fathers. As a black woman living Florida, there’s no greater state I’d rather call home👏🏽— Kiyan Michael (@kiyanforfl) May 24, 2023
For Jacques, this also included tweeting out clips and coverage of legislative priorities from DeSantis, such as bills that he co-sponsored. The governor has signed legislation that makes it illegal for doctors to provide hormones or perform surgeries for children who may think they are transgender, as well as legislation cracking down on illegal immigration.
I was a proud co-sponsor of this bill - glad our governor delivered on it! https://t.co/aYmIEniCwB— Berny Jacques (@BernyJacques) May 26, 2023
Good. https://t.co/SeGsPkXQqA— Berny Jacques (@BernyJacques) May 24, 2023