Add another entry to the long list of white supremacists associated with Florida’s racist Gov. Ron DeSantis—emerging ironically just days after the governor boasted about appointing African-Americans to his newly formed cabinet.
Florida’s now-former secretary of state, Michael Ertel, resigned his position Thursday after the Tallahassee Democrat obtained a picture of him posing in blackface at a Halloween party 14 years ago. DeSantis reluctantly accepted Ertel’s resignation after the governor’s office was confronted with the damning photo.
“It’s unfortunate. He’s done a lot of good work,” DeSantis said later at a news conference, adding that he accepted the resignation because “I don’t want to get mired in side controversies.”
The governor, who has denied being racist even though he associates with white supremacists, including President Donald Trump, has been hard at work trying to convince folks that he doesn’t share the ideology of bigots. On Monday—the Martin Luther King national holiday—DeSantis touted the diversity of his new administration. He strategically announced his appointment of four Black people during an event at a historically Black church in South Florida, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
The photograph was taken in 2005, two months after Hurricane Katrine destroyed mostly Black communities in New Orleans and left scores of African-American families homeless.
Ertel, 49, confirmed to the Tallahassee newspaper last week that he was indeed the person in the picture wearing blackface and red lipstick. He was appointed Seminole County supervisor of elections eight months before the picture was taken. In the photos, Ertel also wore a New Orleans Saints bandanna and false breasts underneath a T-shirt with the words “Katrina victims” written on it.
It’s really no surprise that a racist was discovered working for DeSantis who, despite his denials, has done plenty of racist things himself.
Less than 24 hours after winning the GOP nomination in August, DeSantis warned voters in a TV interview that his Black Democratic rival for the governor’s office, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, would “monkey up” the state.
The immediate pushback against DeSantis for blowing his racist dog whistle led the Trump-backed nominee to quit his role as an administrator for a hate group on Facebook.
That was just the beginning. Investigations into DeSantis’ past revealed that the former congressman has attended conventions that featured prominent white supremacists and has been a keynote speaker at such events.