It's impossible to know whether Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis is, in fact, a racist. But it's sure easy to point out how often he does racist stuff or fraternizes with racist people. There's that appearance next to Steve Bannon at an anti-Muslim conference and the time he used the word "monkey" when referring to his competitor, Andrew Gillum. DeSantis's big-policy proposals include being mean to immigrants — and that's basically it.
So, in a world where reporters from many Florida outlets are being way too nice to DeSantis, at least local progressive activists are doing their part to call him out. Take local immigrant-rights activist Tomas Kennedy, who has an unbelievable knack for catching prominent politicians and yelling hilarious stuff at them on camera. Kennedy previously ambushed Sen. Marco Rubio and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on camera.
DeSantis Thursday was filming a TV interview in a back room during a Little Havana rally. Kennedy somehow found that room, opened the unlocked door, and shouted "You're a racist, Ron DeSantis!" as a group of handlers gawked at Kennedy and quickly shut the door:
Kennedy told New Times today that he actually pulled the stunt twice, and that he didn't catch the first instance on film.
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"They locked the door after the second time, or I would have just kept doing it," Kennedy joked.
DeSantis was in Miami Thursday for a rally at Little Havana's Manuel Artime Theater. According to reporters who attended the event, DeSantis used the event to falsely accuse his opponent, Andrew Gillum, of being a socialist. Perhaps more importantly, DeSantis appeared onstage for the first time with his new running mate, Cuban-American State Rep. Jeanette Nuñez, whose district includes parts of Kendall.
DeSantis has already given activists an ample list of reason to protest him — about 40 residents of his home district reportedly protested last week and waved "DeSantis DeRacist" signs. Days after DeSantis uttered his monkey comment on Fox News, a neo-Nazi group began sending out racist robocalls in Tallahassee which included a white person doing an offensive black "minstrel" voice and, in what was possibly a direct reference to the monkey comment, jungle music playing in the background. DeSantis was also outed last week as the administrator of a "Tea Party" Facebook group that shared racist memes and conspiracy theories. (The candidate claims he was added to the group without being notified.) Other administrators included Pizzagate conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec, as well as Senate candidate Corey Stewart, who once openly praised a white supremacist.