Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried speaks near the Florida Governor’s Mansion on August 9, 2022. Credit: Danielle J. Brown
A day after former President Donald Trump’s home was searched by the FBI, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried held a press conference near the Florida Governor’s Mansion, where Gov. Ron DeSantis, First Lady Casey DeSantis and their three young children live.
The governor last evening had tweeted, in part, that the search at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach “is another escalation in the weaponization of federal agencies against the Regime’s political opponents.”
On Tuesday, Fried, an attorney, statewide elected Cabinet member and 2022 gubernatorial candidate, wanted to reflect about what’s happening in the nation.
“If we all take a step back and reflect, we are all saddened to see where we are in history. No one wants to see a past president’s house searched — the first time in American history,” Fried said. “We are more divided today than we have been since the Civil War.”
As she spoke, the small park area near the Governor’s Mansion was fenced off, with signs citing Florida trespassing laws. Law enforcement vehicles and officers were present but were not encroaching on Fried’s press conference.
She noted that “we are all waiting for answers from yesterday,” but also emphasized that “nobody is above the law.”
According to CNN Politics Monday, federal agents executed a search warrant on Trump’s Florida home Mar-A-Lago, apparently as part of an investigation of the handling of presidential documents.
Many members of the GOP quickly came to the defense of the former president on social media, such as Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene tweeting “DEFUND THE FBI” and U.S. GOP Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy promising to “conduct immediate oversight” of the Justice Department if the Republicans take back the House.
DeSantis’ tweet last night also stated that “people like Hunter Biden get treated with kid gloves. Now the Regime is getting another 87k IRS agents to wield against its adversaries? Banana Republic.”
But Fried said Tuesday: “It also pains me that Ron DeSantis — who still has not condemned Nazis, even after multiple requests to stand united with me. He won’t condemn January 6, but he has no problem attacking the FBI, an FBI that is run by a director that was appointed by Donald Trump.”
Fried’s main Democratic opponent for the August primaries, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, made a similar connection Monday on Twitter:
“DeSantis attacks law enforcement for legally raiding Mar-a-Lago while he’s yet to say anything about the heinous Nazis in our state who’ve been rallying in support of him. Also, attacking a private company, Disney, for free speech is about as ‘banana republic’ as it gets.”
Crist has been a Republican governor, Attorney General, and Education Commissioner over the years before he became a Democrat and is currently a member of the U.S. House of Representatives in Congress.
At the press conference, Fried also discussed DeSantis’ recent suspension of a duly elected Hillsborough County state attorney for allegedly refusing to enforce criminal penalties on doctors providing gender-affirming care or abortions, which she called a “politically motivated overreach of executive power.”
DeSantis’ tweet Monday night also mentions the potential 87,000 new federal Internal Revenue Services positions looped into a sweeping energy, climate, health care, and tax package that the U.S. Senate approved over the weekend. The new positions are expected to assist with tax enforcement and other measures. The U.S. House has to approve the bill.
That said, DeSantis has pushed for creating his own investigation team for “election crimes” in the 2022 legislative session, though the 2020 election went well in Florida.
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