‘Joke,’ ‘ridiculous,’ ‘stunt’: DeSantis clashes with Florida NAACP over travel advisory

(As originally published with bells and whistles, Fri, March 24th 2023, 9:05 PM EDT)

ORLANDO, Fla. (TND) — Florida’s governor Ron DeSantis is proving to be a polarizing figure with many lawmakers and organizations showing ardent support or outright acrimony.

The Republican, who is expected to officially run for the 2024 presidential nomination, is now in a spat with the state’s chapter of the NAACP over a new advisory they’ve asked the national organization to issue that would urge Black Americans against traveling to the Sunshine State.

Fox News quoted DeSantis calling the possibility a “joke,” “ridiculous,” and dismissing it as a “stunt” Thursday.

“Yeah, we’ll see how effective that is,” DeSantis quipped.

But the Florida chapter unanimously voted to ask the national board to tell Black Americans not to enter the state. That vote took place Thursday in Orlando and the group cited concerns over “anti-Black legislation.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in Panama City on Monday, March 20, 2023. (Florida Channel)

Some of those issues are DeSantis rejecting an AP African American Studies course for high school students; banning critical race theory; eliminating university diversity, equity and inclusion programs; and pushing for the so-called Stop WOKE Act, which critics say will whitewash ugly aspects of the nation’s racial history.

That’s what we’re saying here. Don’t come into racism,” Lee County NAACP president James Muwakkil told WBBH.

USA Today reported that Isaiah Rumlin, president of the NAACP’s branch in Jacksonville, said they support the push.

The branch also put out a statement on its Facebook page saying, in part, “The Florida State Conference NAACP believes that these racial profiling and discrimination incidents demonstrate that people of color may be at greater risk of harm while traveling in Florida. Therefore, we are considering issuing a travel advisory to warn people about these potential risks and encourage them to take precautions if they travel to Florida.”

The NAACP also responded to DeSantis’ comments on Twitter with a play on his own words, saying, “What a joke.”

The NAACP issued a travel advisory for Missouri in 2017. It was the first travel advisory ever issued by the organization at the state or national level and came in response to the state’s Senate Bill 43, which made it more difficult for employees to prove race or gender directly led to unlawful discrimination.

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