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Fried compares DeSantis to Hitler: 'In a lot of ways'

Published: Jan. 15, 2022 at 6:26 AM EST
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Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried compared Gov. Ron DeSantis to Adolf Hitler during a recent interview.

Fried, a Democrat who is running for governor in 2022, made the remarks during Friday's edition of The Florida Roundup podcast.

Co-host Melissa Ross, a reporter for Jacksonville public radio station WJCT, asked Fried about her past references comparing DeSantis to an "authoritarian dictator."

"He is doing everything possible to take power away from local governments, taking away people's abilities to protest, making it harder to vote, talking about, you know, banning books," Fried said. "That's what dictators do. 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."

Profile of Adolf Hitler in uniform, including Swastika, circa 1930.
Profile of Adolf Hitler in uniform, including Swastika, circa 1930.

"Are you comparing DeSantis to Hitler?" Ross interrupted.

"In a lot of ways, yes," Fried continued. "I have studied Hitler and how he got to power, you know, wanting his own militia."

Fried was referring to the Republican governor's plan to revive the long-dormant Florida State Guard.

WATCH: DeSantis wants to reestablish Florida State Guard

Gov. DeSantis wants to reestablish Florida State Guard

Ross pointed out that there are other states with similar paramilitaries.

"Absolutely, but the reason why this governor wants it is different than the other states that have been utilizing it for emergency purposes," Fried said. "This governor is doing it for the sole purposes of power and doing so to make fear and to instill that, to blame people for what is happening in their lives, blaming certain parts of our society and culture, and that's exactly what Hitler did to the Jews back during World War II."

Fried last week proclaimed that DeSantis was "not fit to serve" after the state allowed as many as 1 million at-home COVID-19 test kits to expire. DeSantis has said the demand wasn't there at the time before the omicron surge in Florida led to long lines at testing sites throughout the state.

DeSantis said earlier this week that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has extended the expiration date for the unused tests, which will be sent to emergency management offices, county health departments, public safety agencies, hospitals and long-term care facilities.

Fried touched on a variety of subjects during the interview, which was overshadowed by her Hitler remarks.

"Do I think that we're going to get to the extent of Hitler's power?" she later clarified. "Of course not."

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