In the past, Ron DeSantis has appeared at events organized by virulently anti-Muslim activists and associated with white supremacists. His wife recently attended a fundraiser with an Obama birther. At this point, it seems like a safe bet to assume everyone DeSantis or his campaign associates with in public is some kind of a right-wing extremist.
Take, for instance, D.C. Republican strategist, cable-news pundit, and hater of LGBTQ people Raynard Jackson, who has spent years railing against homosexuals — and even claimed gay leaders were using the Pulse nightclub massacre to spread a "radical homosexual agenda." This past Friday, DeSantis shared the stage with Jackson at a Black Professionals Summit in Miami, where Jackson berated a woman who asked the GOP gubernatorial candidate a challenging question about the school-to-prison pipeline.
The optics of Jackson shouting "show some respect" at a woman were less than ideal:
Some difficult moments in Ron DeSantis last 305 stop of the day, Black Professionals Summit...— Glenna Milberg (@GlennaWPLG) September 28, 2018
Panel Host Raynard Jackson & an insistent audience member go at it over her Q&A interruption...What could have been a bonding event ends in tension...@WPLGLocal10 pic.twitter.com/JyXtwHMYCt
You might ask yourself what kind of black leader would voluntarily appear with DeSantis after he has criticized immigrants, all but tattooed "MAGA" on his forehead, and been caught up in more racism scandals in just a few months than seems humanly possible.
The answer is a pundit like Jackson, whose views sit even to DeSantis' right. Jackson's Twitter photo is a snapshot of him hugging white-nationalist fog-demon Anne Coulter, and he's repeatedly shared articles agreeing with Steve Bannon.
But what really seems to get Jackson going are the gays. He's been fervently and angrily tweeting and blogging about the evils of the "homosexual lobby" for years. He seems to hate gay people, trans people, gender-nonbinary people, and anyone who doesn't believe that men and women should get married at age 19 and pump out 33 kids.
Below is just a small sampling of Jackson's views on the LGBTQ community. In his tweets, he complains about LGBTQ monuments, lesbians at WNBA games, and Ellen DeGeneres' "polluting the children" of America. When Barack Obama nominated Eric Fanning to be the first openly gay service secretary in the U.S. Army, Jackson tweeted out the exclamation "ENOUGH," among other complaints.
In N.Y., White House poised to create first monument to gay rights struggle - The Washington Post— Raynard Jackson (@Raynard1223) May 4, 2016
Wil this ever end:https://t.co/fYxjrIMFgm
Really? NO really? Is this what America really voted for? ENOUGH with all the homosexual... http://t.co/ytaN6a2Foa— Raynard Jackson (@Raynard1223) September 19, 2015
Homosexual's ultimate goal is 2 force heterosexuals n 2 the closet:... http://t.co/51BKHGaKCE— Raynard Jackson (@Raynard1223) April 4, 2014
Jackson's screeds against LGBTQ folks aren't limited to Twitter. He once wrote a Washington Post op-ed complaining that the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation spends its time "defaming others" and tries to give LGBTQ Americans a "special status" in the law above other people. Jackson wrote the op-ed to defend former CNN commentator Roland Martin, whom the network suspended after Martin posted numerous tweets implying that gay or feminine men should be physically assaulted.
Jackson's archive of anti-gay blog posts is extensive. Many of those screeds are tied to his highly selective reading of the Bible — in a post titled "Can True Christians Celebrate Easter and Homosexuality?" Jackson answers that question with a resounding "no" before claiming same-sex love is the only Christian sin that "that people are trying to legalize," which is hilariously untrue. (As many people have noted, the same portions of the Bible that arguably outlaw gayness — the Book of Leviticis — also outlaws an insane list of other activities, including wearing mixed-fabric clothing, burning honey as a tribute to God, eating fat or blood, letting your hair become unkempt, touching the carcasses of weasels, going to church within 33 days of giving birth to a boy or 66 days for a girl, trimming your beard, or cutting your hair at the sides.)
In 2013, the website Right Wing Watch published a piece about one Jackson anti-gay rant in which he said the Boy Scouts of America "sold their souls to the Devil" by allowing their members to be openly gay. Here's a section from that blog:
How can you train youth in responsible citizenship, character development and self-reliance when you have adult cowards voting to shift the group’s moral compass to make radical homosexuals feel good?
You don’t give kids choices at that age; you give them direction. Kids should not be used by adults as pawns in an adult game perpetrated by immoral homosexual activists.
Furthermore, when did morals, values and beliefs become subject to the latest opinion poll or political whim? For more than 100 years, the BSA has been very clear in its position to exclude homosexuality, atheism and agnosticism.
It is estimated that gays account for 3 percent of the U.S. population. Assuming that percentage applies to youth as well, that means the BSA has decided to make 97 percent of its troop members uncomfortable in order to satisfy the perverted needs of 3 percent.
In another post that year, Jackson wrote that social services should take MSNBC host Krystal Ball's daughter away after Ball aired footage of her talking to her daughter about same-sex marriage. This talk apparently sent Jackson into a rage:
So, let me give you a real-world example of liberalism gone amuck. What I saw on MSNBC recently sent chills down my spine—a parent abusing their own child on national TV to promote an insidious political agenda, which is totally disgusting. You must see this video.
Krystal Ball, another MSNBC talk show host and feminist, aired a video of her and her 5-year-old daughter, Ella. Ball asks Ella if she knows what marriage is, and she says she does not. Then the daughter says marriage is between a man and a woman. That’s when her mother begins to indoctrinate her daughter about homosexual marriage. I was mortified that a parent would do this to her own daughter—on national TV. Social services should remove Ella from this house because her mother is without question an unfit parent.
So, this is the type of world that Melissa Perry wants to create, one where someone like Ball could take another person’s child and brainwash them into believing that homosexual marriage is OK. What parent has this type of conversation with a 5-year-old? Is this what Perry means when she says, “Kids belong to whole communities”? They know they cannot win the argument with logic, so they must brainwash innocent children to perpetuate their radical liberalism. This is why we need to keep the government out of our lives to the greatest extent possible.
What Ball did to her daughter may not be child abuse legally, but morally it is definitely abuse, and I am amazed that even liberals of goodwill have not criticized her for such abuse.
In another post, titled "Why Black Men Need More White Women," he argues that "Black men need more White women like Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham" before stating that undocumented immigrants make black people poor (not true) and that President Obama was "pandering to homosexuals" by endorsing same-sex marriage.
In what might be arguably his most offensive column, he argued that the Pulse shooting in Orlando (in DeSantis' home state), which killed 49 people at an event for gay Latino men, had "nothing to do with homosexuality."
Everyone knows my position on the radical homosexual agenda being forced upon our country. I totally disagree with it. Marriage is between one man and one woman. Homosexuality is not compatible with Christianity, nor should homosexuals be legally recognized as a protected class.
Having said that, as I predicted and expected, homosexuals have attempted to use the tragedy in Orlando to advance their ultimate political goal—forced acceptance of their lifestyle choices upon all Americans.
The murder of 49 people in Orlando had absolutely nothing to do with homosexuality. I repeat, the murder of 49 people in Orlando, Florida last weekend had absolutely nothing to do with homosexuality.
This was an act of terror, plain and simple!
Murder, by definition, is an act of hate. So it seems kind of ridiculous to argue that this was also a hate crime. Calling the murders in Orlando a hate crime is like saying I am dating my girlfriend. Huh? Exactly.
Here's a sampling of some of his other anti-gay tweets:
The Boy Scotts are about to be taken over by the homosexual lobby. Discuss amongst urselves:https://t.co/KPYSalmc7U— Raynard Jackson (@Raynard1223) May 22, 2018
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My folks in the homosexual community are CONSTANLY trying to attack me simply because I DON'T accept their choices:https://t.co/n4KpOJ8s7o— Raynard Jackson (@Raynard1223) December 21, 2016
A liberal has the courage to praise Bush. This is real courage, NOT someone saying they are homosexual:... http://t.co/xsX3lIdzoi— Raynard Jackson (@Raynard1223) April 29, 2013
Oh, and by the way, Jackson runs the political action committee Black Americans for a Better Future, but according to the Intercept in 2016, the PAC is 100 percent funded by rich white men, including prominent Trump, Breitbart, and Bannon backer Robert Mercer. What a shock.
DeSantis' campaign didn't respond to a message to comment for this piece.