Update (8/1/23): After this piece was published, right-wing site The Washington Free Beacon revealed additional offensive text messages that Gonzales sent over the same time period covered in this story. In the texts, Gonzales wrongly referred to Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as Jewish, and said that meant she “can’t be criticized.” Gonzales also argued that right-wing nationalist Yoram Hazony, who he referred to as an “Israeli scholar,” shouldn’t be allowed to “define the rules of American nationalism.” Screenshots additionally show Gonzales using an anti-Black slur and an anti-LGBTQ slur. When former President Donald Trump responded to the racist shooting in El Paso by condemning “white supremacy,” Gonzales responded: “Fuck this president.”
The Florida Standard, a media outlet that serves as a de facto extension of the presidential campaign of Gov. Ron DeSantis, last week published an article written by conservative pundit Pedro Gonzalez, who was recently exposed as having sent numerous antisemitic and racist text messages in 2019 and 2020.
The piece is a straightforward argument that former President Donald Trump is a weak candidate in the general election. Gonzalez, a DeSantis supporter, doesn’t have a dedicated author page at The Florida Standard, and this story appears to be the first published under his byline, although other writers at the site have embedded his tweets in their own posts.
Will Witt, editor-in-chief of The Florida Standard, has previously declined to say who owns or funds The Florida Standard, but Semafor reported in December that “it was the brainchild of pro-DeSantis donors in Florida.” DeSantis has maintained a friendly relationship with the outlet, even granting Witt an early on-screen interview, leading Politico to write that the site “instantly gained unprecedented access to DeSantis when it launched last summer.”
Witt has a long history of making bigoted remarks, and he and Gonzalez interact regularly on Twitter. Still, it’s notable that a website so closely identified with DeSantis’ presidential campaign would publish Gonzalez so soon after his overtly antisemitic and racist remarks were made public.
In late June, conservative blog Breitbart published a long article revealing bigoted text messages Gonzalez had sent in 2019 and 2020. Gonzalez, politics editor at the paleoconservative magazine Chronicles, wrote that “not every Jew is problematic, but the sad fact is that most are,” and that “as a group I see them as problematic.”
The United States is “a country built by whites, that can only survive if whites survive,” Gonzalez said in one text, adding in another that “whites are the only hope non-whites have of living civilized lives, but whites themselves are too cucked to preserve their own civilizations.” In a separate message, he referred to Daily Wire pundits Candace Owens, who is Black, and Ben Shapiro, who is Jewish, as “The Negress and the Jew.”
“I’ve got three contacts with a line to Fuentes,” Gonzalez wrote. In another message, he added: “I never thought I would agree with so much of what Fuentes has to say.” He also claimed, falsely, that Fuentes “isn’t a [Holocaust] denier. He’s a troll.”
Fuentes leads a far-right movement who refer to themselves as “groypers,” and recently called for a “holy war” against the “enemies of Christ.” Earlier in his speech, Fuentes had said that Jews are “the people that are running the country.”
Gonzalez acknowledged the veracity of the leaked texts, attempting to downplay them by accusing Trump supporters of retaliating against him for breaking with Trump and saying the messages were from “a different, dumb season of my life.” Right-wing media figures, many of whom are supporters of DeSantis, came to Gonzalez’s defense after Breitbart published its story.
The exposure of Gonzalez’s texts highlights how prevalent overt antisemitism has become in recent years among conservative activists, politicians, and pundits. Earlier this year, Eric Trump was scheduled to speak at one of his father’s hotels with two Hitler-promoting antisemites. (They were dropped from the event following reporting from Media Matters.) Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) used his official newsletter to promote a pro-Hitler, Holocaust-denying website that had praised the congressman for attacking “Jewish warmongers.” At least two chapters of the anti-LGBTQ organization Moms for Liberty have used Hitler quotes to justify their book banning campaigns.
DeSantis now faces an onslaught of bad press and cratering poll numbers, forcing his campaign to announce a “reboot.” It’s not clear if part of that plan is for media outlets closely associated with his candidacy to deepen their ties with open antisemites.