Nikki Fried calls on Rick Scott to apologize for calling Democrats “the anti-Semitic party”

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried at the Capital Tiger Bay Club. Lloyd Dunkelberger photo

(Updated) The reverberations of Donald Trump’s racist tweet against four Democratic congresswomen has now become an issue in Florida politics.

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried – the state’s only statewide elected Democrat – is calling comments by a top Florida Republican “insulting, false and dangerous.”

Republican U.S. Sen. Rick Scott charged in incendiary comments this week that the Democratic Party is anti-Semitic.

“Florida’s junior U.S. Senator @SenRickScott calling @TheDemocrats Party anti-Semitic is insulting, false and dangerous,” Fried tweeted on Wednesday. “He should apologize and stop using my community to sow division. Sincerely, The first statewide elected Jewish female in Florida history & proud @FlaDems.”

Scott made the accusation on Monday, when he was asked if he believed if President Trump’s tweet over the weekend calling on four Democratic Representatives and women of color to “go back” to where they came from was racist.

“It was not racist,” Scott said in defending the president. “It was clearly not the way I would do it but let’s remember the position that these Democrats have taken. They’ve become the anti-Semitic party now and so that’s wrong. Our country is not anti-Semitic. They are attacking law enforcement, our border agents and ICE. That’s wrong. These people are doing their job.”

Fried is not the first Jewish female elected Democrat in Florida to call Scott out on his comments. On Tuesday, Broward County state Senator Lori Berman called Scott’s comments “deeply offensive.”

“As a proud Jewish-American and strong supporter of the state of Israel I find Rick Scott’s comments to be deeply offensive, and his refusal to call Trump’s tweets racist equally as offensive,” Berman said in a statement issued by the Florida Democratic Party. “Rick Scott is trying to use the fallacy that the Democratic Party is Anti-Semitic to not have to acknowledge Trump’s racist comments.”

Later on Wednesday, Boca Raton based U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch also chastised Scott for his remarks.

“The Senator’s comments were not only ridiculous; they are offensive to all of us, Democrats and Republicans, who work hard together to advance Jewish values and the US-Israel relationship,” Deutch said in a written statement. “Senator Scott should apologize to all Democrats and Republicans who work together every day on these vital issues, and he should apologize to the Jewish community of Florida, many of whom are lifelong Democrats who have been fighting anti-Semitism and standing up for Israel since its founding in 1948. And he should sit with me so I can explain to him what’s possible when politicians stop using dangerous rhetoric and start working together.”

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