Ron DeSantis is engaging in ‘fascism’, says Florida Democrat

Maxwell Frost speaks at a rally in February (Getty Images for People's Rally)

Democratic Representative Maxwell Frost criticised his home state Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida, saying the potential Republican presidential candidate is engaging in “fascism”.

The freshman Democratic congressman, who is currently the youngest member of the House of Representatives, spoke on CNN with Jim Acosta about Mr DeSantis’s plan to ban the use of preferred pronouns and gender studies in the state of Florida.

“He isn’t acting on education, we have to be clear,” Mr Frost said. “He’s acting on scapegoating vulnerable communities due to his failures.”

Mr Frost said that Mr DeSantis was not talking about how to actually improve education with measures like improving teacher pay or more money spent on students.

“He’s talking about targeting queer students,” he said. “Targeting LGBTQ+ kids. It’s not just the broader community. He’s going for the kids.”

Mr Frost said that a new piece of legislation would allow the state to seize transgender children if they feel like they are at risk of gender-affirming care. The governor is largely seen as a potential challenger to former president Donald Trump in the 2024 Republican primary, largely by his targeting of LGBTQ+ rights and limiting how gender and sexualty are discussed in education.

The Democrat said that it was hard to keep track of all of Mr DeSantis’s targeting of marginalised communities.

“But we have to call it for what it is: he is abusing his power and using the state to target political opponents and political enemies,” he said. “And there’s a word for that, and it’s fascism. And we have to be honest about it.”

Mr Frost said that while it is a problem for Florida now, it could become a problem for everyone else if Mr DeSantis becomes president.

“We need everybody to pay attention and talk about it,” he said. “How he’s targeting trans folks, targeting not just Black history but Black people in general, which is American history, and targeting marginalized communities across this entire state.”