Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) head Morton Klein expressed outrage after Florida Agriculture Commissioner and Democrat candidate for governor Nikki Fried compared her potential general election opponent Gov. Ron DeSantis to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, calling her remarks “the ugliest hate speech I’ve ever heard” while urging for her immediate resignation.
In response to the likening of Gov. Ron DeSantis to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler by Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a Democrat candidate for governor in the Sunshine State, the nation’s oldest pro-Israel organization released an exclusive statement to Breitbart News on Sunday calling on Democrats to condemn her “sick, demented” comparison.
“Especially as a child of Holocaust survivors who lost aunts, uncles and grandparents to the horrors of Hitler, I urge that Florida Democrat Nikki Fried be condemned by Democratic Party officials in Florida and America for her sick, demented comparison of the great Republican Governor DeSantis to one of the Jew-hating monsters in history, Adolf Hitler,” Klein stated.
“This is not only absurd, it diminishes and even whitewashes what the Jewish people and the world endured for six long years,” he added.
He then called for Fried’s prompt departure, adding that her Jewish background made her remarks all the more infuriating.
“I also urge that officials join me in demanding that Fried should immediately resign,” he stated. “The fact that Fried is Jewish only increases my anguish. There is clearly something emotionally and intellectually very wrong with Nikki Fried.”
“She should be removed from public life and from having any say in people’s lives,” he added.
Calling for her to “go away,” Klein deemed her comments “especially insane” due to DeSantis’ time-tested support for Israel.
“Her beliefs are especially insane since Gov. DeSantis was the greatest congressional friend to the Jewish State and went to Israel as his first international trip as governor,” he stated. “And I’m proud to have accompanied him.”
Klein concluded by urging Jewish groups and leading figures to join in the ZOA’s condemnation and call for Fried’s swift removal.
“Every Jewish organization and its leaders must condemn Fried and demand her resignation immediately,” he stated, calling her remarks “the ugliest hate speech I’ve ever heard.”
“We dare not allow in this new era of woke irrationality for dangerous analogies like this to go unanswered,” he added.
Fried’s remarks, which included her deeming actions DeSantis’ has taken as governor “exactly what Hitler did to the Jews back during World War II,” were made during an interview that aired on Florida Public Radio’s “The Florida Roundup” on Friday.
During the interview, Fried was asked by host Melissa Ross if she regretted her past likenings of the Florida governor to an authoritarian and dictator, to which Fried doubled down, saying she did not.
“Not at all,” she replied. “Growing up in Miami, and having neighbors that were Cubans, hearing stories of so many of our Floridians who have left dictatorships, and communism, and socialist countries, and coming here to the state of Florida for capitalism, for open opportunities to succeed — he is doing everything possible to take away power from local governments, taking away people’s ability to protest, making it harder to vote, talking about banning books — that’s what dictators do.”
“Instead of listening and trying to govern with the people, he is trying to govern over the people,” she added.
The 44-year-old Fried then claimed to have seen Hitler’s ascension.
“I’m sorry — I’m a student of history, too,” she said. “I saw the rise of Hitler; I’ve learned of those stories.”
She was then interrupted by the host and asked if she was comparing DeSantis to the Nazi leader.
“In a lot of ways, yes,” she replied. “I have studied Hitler and how he got to power, wanting his own militia and having his own—.”
After Ross noted other states possessed militias, Fried said those states had different motivations.
“The reason why this governor wants it is different than the other states that have been utilizing it for emergency purposes,” she said. “This governor is doing it for the sole purposes of power and doing so to make fear and instill that — to blame people for what is happening in their lives, blaming certain parts of our society and our culture, and that’s exactly what Hitler did to the Jews back during World War II.”
After being informed her comparison could be viewed as offensive, Fried was unmoved.
“Do I think that we’re going to get to this extent of Hitler’s power? Of course not,” she said. “But the rise of his power and what he did to scapegoat certain parts, in especially 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 then taking over the military — that’s what this governor is doing.”
After her remarks went public, political voices from Florida blasted Fried’s “dangerous,” “offensive,” and “false” equation.
“If we had an honest media instead of DNC stenographers, reporters would be criticizing @NikkiFried‘s dishonest and offensive claim that @GovRonDeSantis is the modern Hitler,” wrote DeSantis’ press secretary Christina Pushaw.
“Such a comparison trivializes Hitler’s crimes against humanity,” she added. “This is not funny, it’s sick.”
If we had an honest media instead of DNC stenographers, reporters would be criticizing @NikkiFried 's dishonest and offensive claim that @GovRonDeSantis is the modern Hitler. Such a comparison trivializes Hitler's crimes against humanity. This is not funny, it's sick.
— Christina Pushaw 🐊 (@ChristinaPushaw) January 15, 2022
“No Governor has done more to help Jews in their state than Governor DeSantis,” he added. “She needs to disavow her repugnant anti-Semitism — or resign.”
As a Jew, I am repulsed by @NikkiFried comparing @GovRonDeSantis to Hitler. No Governor has done more to help Jews in their state than Governor DeSantis. She needs to disavow her repugnant anti-Semitism — or resign. @ChristinaPushaw
— Rep. Randy Fine (@VoteRandyFine) January 15, 2022
“Hitler systematically murdered 6 million Jews and appx 3 million others,” wrote Gabriel Groisman, Mayor of Bal Harbour, Florida. “@GovRonDeSantis is loved by the Jewish community and has led our state with dignity on so many issues.”
“@NikkiFried, Your desperation is showing,” he added. “Disagreeing with his policies doesn’t make him Hitler. Low.”
Hitler systematically murdered 6 million Jews and appx 3 million others. @GovRonDeSantis is loved by the Jewish community and has led our state with dignity on so many issues.@NikkiFried, Your desperation is showing. Disagreeing with his policies doesn’t make him Hitler. Low.
— Mayor Gabriel Groisman (@GabeGroisman) January 16, 2022
“To think of Nikki Fried as a student of anything is pretty laughable given her lack of accomplishments,” wrote Helen Aguirre Ferre, executive director of the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF).
“What isn’t funny is the denigration of the memory of more than 12 million souls who perished from the Holocaust,” she added.
To think of Nikki Fried as a student of anything is pretty laughable given her lack of accomplishments. What isn’t funny is the denigration of the memory of more than 12 million souls who perished from the Holocaust. https://t.co/adxN90ouis
— Helen Aguirre Ferré (@helenaguirrefer) January 15, 2022
Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein