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Former GOP Rep Says DeSantis and Trump Are Offering Different Types of White Nationalism

2024 GOP favorites Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis both represent strains of white nationalism, according to a former Republican congressman on Sunday.

The former president and governor of Florida have consistently led the pack in polls for the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential nomination. Trump, who is seeking a second term in the White House after losing to Joe Biden in 2020, announced his current candidacy much earlier than usual, just after last year’s midterm elections. DeSantis, meanwhile, has yet to officially enter the race, but is widely expected to be planning an announcement before late spring.

Despite early concerns from party members that his influence on the party was toxic, Trump now regularly leads DeSantis in the polls, often by double-digit margins. While the Florida governor may lag behind the former president, he’s also the only candidate to get significant numbers besides Trump. Others, like former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, regularly probe into the lower numbers.

David Jolly is a former congressman who represented Florida’s 13th congressional district from 2014 to 2017. He officially left the GOP in 2018, due to the direction the party had taken under Trump, and has remained an independent ever since. .

Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis are seen in a meeting at the White House in 2018. Former Republican David Jolly said Sunday that Trump and DeSantis both represent different strains of white nationalism.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

On Sunday, the former congressman appeared on MSNBC alongside others to discuss recent comments by Sen. Tommy Tuberville, a Republican from Alabama, in which he said white nationalists were just “Americans ” in his eyes and should not be expelled from the army. Jolly said it was another example of widespread white nationalist ideology by Republicans, adding that Trump and DeSantis also represented different strains of it.

“The danger in what we see in these remarks is this normalization and mainstreaming of white nationalism into today’s GOP,” Jolly said. “You see it with Donald Trump and his nod to Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys…Donald Trump, I like to say, offers white nationalism for the working man. Ron DeSantis offers white nationalism for the country club crowd. They belong to the same party, the narrative is the same.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center defines “white nationalism” as groups that “espouse white supremacist or white separatist ideologies” with an emphasis on “the alleged inferiority of non-whites.” Some examples he provides on his official website include the “Ku Klux Klan, neo-Confederate, neo-Nazi, [and] racist skinheads,” who he says can “aptly be described as white nationalists. The center also reports that despite the topic’s persistence in national politics, the actual number of white nationalist groups has declined since peaking in 2019.

Newsweek contacted the Trump and DeSantis press offices via email for comment.


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