After FL Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that the Florida State Guard will be reestablished with 200 volunteers to help the state in emergency situations (such as hurricanes), Democrats and leftist activists went mad with demonstrably false and offensive comparisons to Latin American militias.
Former Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell—a Democrat, who lost her seat to Rep. Gimenez (R-FL) in the 2020 elections, posted a tweet claiming that the volunteers who will be part of the Florida State Guard remind her of “the armed civilian ‘Colectivos‘ of Venezuela.”
The ‘Colectivos‘ are criminal groups heavily armed by the socialist Venezuelan regime of Dictator Nicolás Maduro to persecute and assassinate dissidents. These criminal groups have a presence in much of Venezuela and operate as paramilitaries extorting money from ordinary citizens while running the drug trade. They are responsible for the deaths of thousands of Venezuelans.
Mucarsel-Powell was quickly criticized by several users, among them Venezuelans and Latinos who called her claims offensive to Venezuelans in the U.S.
“This comparison to the colectivos, besides insulting the Venezuelan exile community, doesn´t even hold up because: 1. The colectivos are armed, the Florida Guard is not. 2. Venezuelans are disarmed, Floridians are not. Delete this tweet and then your account,” Jorge Bonilla, director of MRC Latino, criticized via Twitter.
Other Florida Democrats like Nikki Fried and Charlie Crist also compared the Florida State Guard as a “paramilitary force” and a “secret police” that will answer to DeSantis. El American fact-check of these claims and the results showed both to be false. Several states around the country such as California, New York, Oregon and Connecticut (and also Puerto Rico), have an equivalent to the Florida State Guard in their jurisdictions.
In addition, in the other jurisdictions of the country, the State Guards also answer to the governors of their respective states. Ron DeSantis is not creating a “paramilitary militia” to combat dissent as Democrats in Florida are falsely suggesting.
Massive national misinformation about the Florida State Guard
Malcolm Nance, who contributes as an expert on terrorism to various liberal media outlets tweeted a fake news story about the Florida State Guard.
“WOW: GOP Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis wants to form a personal militia like the ‘political’ leaders in Iraq have. It would be a militia that only answers to him. This is the beginning of a ‘Red Army’ as the GOP prepares for war. Literally,” anchor Dean Obeidallah tweeted.
Nance quoted Obeidallah’s tweet and said: “WTAF?! Ok Real America. Please RT this widely. Only refer to these new State paramilitary militias & insurrectionists with the proper Hashtag: #TrumpsRedArmy.”
Writer and former Obama administration official Brandon Friedman also wrote a Twitter thread where he promoted an unfounded conspiracy theory that Governor DeSantis is “openly preparing to break with the federal government or wants his followers to ‘believe’ he is doing so.”
In his fourth tweet, Friedman alarmingly claims that “DeSantis is not reactivating the State Guard to ‘supplement’ the U.S. Armed Forces as was intended during WWII,” but “he is doing it to ‘circumvent’ the American Army. He wants an armed force that will act in opposition to the American Army, not serve in its absence.”
His thread received several criticisms and ironic messages quickly. But there were also many users who spread and believed Friedman’s baseless theory.
The hashtag #TrumpsRedArmy now has hundreds of tweets in support following the Democratic misinformation. Multiple media outlets, such as CNN and Axios, have echoed DeSantis’ announcement and failed to clarify in their headlines that it is only a 200 volunteer State Guard that has an equivalent presence in more than twenty states across the country including several governed by Democrats.