A Democrat challenging Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis this year for his post is comparing the governor’s COVID-19 policies to those of during the Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler.
Challenger Nikki Fried, the state’s Agriculture commissioner and outspoken DeSantis critic, made the comment during an NPR interview Friday in which she was asked to explain a tweet in which she called DeSantis a "dictator."
Fried responded by saying his policies are similar to those passed during "the rise of Hitler."
"Growing up in Miami, you know, and having neighbors that were Cubans – growing up with hearing the 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: [DeSantis] is doing everything possible to take away power from local governments," she said, according to the Daily Wire.
"Taking away people’s abilities 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, and, you know, that, I'm sorry, I'm a student of history, too. I saw the rise of Hitler, I learned those stories."
When asked whether she was comparing DeSantis to Hitler, Fried responded: "In a lot of ways, yes. I have studied Hitler and how he got to power, you know, wanting his own militia."
On the issue of whether other states also have a militia, 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's comments resulted in backlash from at least two elected Florida officials.
"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," tweeted Bal Harbour Mayor Gabriel Groisman. “@NikkiFried, Your desperation is showing. Disagreeing with his policies doesn’t make him Hitler. Low."