Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried under fire for comparing Gov. DeSantis to Hitler

Published: January 17, 2022 3:41 PM EST
Updated: January 18, 2022 6:45 AM EST

Gubernatorial Candidate and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is under fire for comparing Governor Ron DeSantis to Hitler. Comparing the governor to Hitler may not be politically smart, but for some people, the comparison has nothing to do with politics at all.

Hitler’s name is synonymous with the swastika, concentration camps and the murder of millions.

On Friday, in a radio interview with NPR, Fried put Hitler in the same breath with the man she hopes to replace, Ron DeSantis.

“That’s what dictators do. Instead of listening and trying to govern with the people, he’s trying to govern over the people, and you know that I’m sorry, you know, I am a student of history, too. I saw the rise of Hitler; I learned those stories,” said Fried during the interview with NPR.

NPR asked her, “are you comparing DeSantis? To Hitler?” She responded saying, “in a lot of ways, yes.”

Fried accused DeSantis of taking away people’s ability to protest, making it harder for them to vote, banning books and removing power from local governments.

But political scientist Aubrey Jewett said people won’t hear any of that. He said when you bring up Hitler, all anyone hears is Hitler.

“Unless you’re literally talking about someone who is espousing Nazi views, and is proudly proclaiming that they’re trying to resurrect a Hitler like, stay, then you shouldn’t compare him to Hitler in American politics, it almost never works well,” said Jewett.

Jewett believes invoking Hitler hurts Fried’s bid for governor but does not end it.

The team at the holocaust museum in Naples doesn’t talk politics, but no matter who uses his name, their message is the same. “The holocaust was the most horrific event of modern history. And to compare it to anything else that is not as horrific really trivializes that event and is also it adds to the trauma. Especially, we don’t want young people to think that it’s okay to use those terms for something that is much more minor.”

Fried doubled down again on Sunday. She wrote in a tweet: “DeSantis and his anti-democratic demagoguery is a danger to our state, our country, and yes the world.
Choose your own historical example if you want, but it’s the damn truth.”

Rabbi Nicole Luna said, “we do still have holocaust survivors in our community”

Rabbi Luna knows many of them too.

She’s not in the politics business. Just faith. One of the most sacred traditions in Judaism is to learn.

“Ultimately, we have a commitment to remember and teach what really happened and uphold the true impact and the meaning of the holocaust,” said Luna.

The rabbi said she prays politicians will learn to disagree without resorting to holocaust comparisons.

Governor Desantis’ press secretary gave this statement to WINK News:

“Nikki Fried’s claim that Governor DeSantis is a modern-day Hitler is as offensive as it is absurd. With this hysterical comparison, Fried not only smears millions of Floridians as Nazis, but also trivializes Hitler’s crimes against humanity.”