Members of Ron DeSantis’s presidential campaign team keep sharing videos from a DeSantis fan account that adds Nazi imagery to clips of the Florida governor.
This weekend, DeSantis communications staffer Nate Hochman shared a video from the Twitter account @desantiscams criticizing Donald Trump as insufficiently conservative.
The video, first noted by Republican strategist Luke Thompson, depicted DeSantis as a better alternative, and concluded with an image of DeSantis standing in front of a Nazi-linked symbol called a Sonnenrad while soldiers marched past. The Sonnenrad is an ancient European icon that was co-opted by Nazis and remains popular with modern white supremacist movements.
The @desantiscams account, which makes fancam-style videos of DeSantis, has made similar videos since launching in March. One such clip, reported by the blogger Ettingermentum, played audio of a man calling DeSantis “fascist” and spliced footage of DeSantis alongside footage of Nazis and Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, over a backing track of EDM music. Another video from the account features upbeat music over headlines about DeSantis and fascism.
Hochman, who did not return a request for comment, has repeatedly retweeted the account: at least six times before sharing the Sonnenrad video. He’s not the only member of DeSantis’s team to promote the obscure account, which on Monday had fewer than 800 followers.
The DeSantis campaign’s “War Room” Twitter account and the “Never Back Down” super PAC, which supports DeSantis, have also shared videos from the fancam account,
A spokesperson for Never Back Down said the PAC was neither affiliated with nor in communication with the Twitter account. The group did not comment on the account’s use of Nazi imagery. The DeSantis campaign did not return a request for comment.
The DeSantis campaign has lagged in its primary campaign against Donald Trump, appearing hesitant to attack Trump directly. Instead, the DeSantis campaign has promoted harsh commentary from apparent non-campaign sources, including an anti-LGBTQ video that the DeSantis campaign retweeted on Twitter this month.
But reporting from the New York Times this weekend revealed that the DeSantis campaign had actually produced the homophobic video, and then sent it to a supporter to tweet. The DeSantis campaign then retweeted the video, giving the campaign plausible deniability over the inflammatory clip, as well as the appearance of having fans who make pro-DeSantis videos.