(The Hill) – Rep. Maxwell Alejandro Frost (D-Fla.) said in an interview Sunday that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) drumbeat of policies targeting Black, transgender, and LGBTQ people are “fascism.”
During an appearance on “CNN Newsroom,” host Jim Acosta asked Frost, the first Generation Z lawmaker to serve in Congress, about how Democrats should take on DeSantis.
“We take that on by number one being bold in our messaging and calling it out for what it is,” Frost told Acosta, saying that DeSantis was not attempting to improve education with his policies, but was “acting on scapegoating vulnerable communities due to his failures.”
“This is what we’re up against in Florida right now and it’s hard to keep track of because it seems like there’s a new victim, there’s a new bill every day,” he added.
“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. And there’s a word for that. and it’s fascism, and we have to be honest about it.”
According to the Washington Post, Republican lawmakers in Florida have proposed a new batch of legislation that includes proposals to require teachers to use pronouns matching children’s sex as assigned at birth, and establish a universal school voucher program.
DeSantis has also signed the Parental Rights Education bill, also referred to as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill into law last year, which prohibits state educators from talking about sexual orientation or gender identity in schools.
And the governor sparked criticism earlier this year after he barred the teaching of Advanced Placement African American Studies course in the state school curriculum.
Frost’s remarks come as DeSantis is widely seen as a leading contender for the GOP’s 2024 presidential nomination, though he had indicated an official announcement will not come until after the state’s legislative session.
“It’s just a problem for Florida now, sure. But in a few years, it can be a problem for the nation,” Frost said of DeSantis’ political tactics.
“We need everybody to pay attention and talk about 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,” Frost added.
“And here’s the sad, sad part Jim. He’s doing it because it’s pulling high for him in the Republican Party. And I think that says a lot about the state of that party right now.”
The Hill has reached out to DeSantis’ office for comment.