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Ron DeSantis wants Florida to establish its own state guard. He can’t be trusted.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday pitched the formation of a civilian state militia separate from the National Guard that would ultimately answer to him rather than the federal government. 

DeSantis, a Republican, proposed allocating $3.5 million to re-establish the Florida State Guard, a 200-person volunteer military force he said would evade federal control. The Florida State Guard was originally established in 1941 to help fill in for National Guard members deployed during World War II. It was disbanded in 1947. 

DeSantis is one of the most prominent GOP trolls holding a governorship in America. However, his latest proposal is deeper than political gamesmanship.

States technically have the power to establish defense forces that are independent from the National Guard, and 22 states currently do. That’s an issue worth discussing and debating, but the most pressing issue right now is that the right-wing governor of Florida can’t be trusted with a military force of his own. 

DeSantis said re-establishing the state guard would “make sure that we have the flexibility and the ability needed to respond to events in our state in the most effective way possible.”

“Some of that will require us to be able to have access and use support in ways that are not encumbered by the federal government, that don’t require the federal government,” he added. 

Don’t let that hodgepodge of political jargon fool you: There’s no reason whatsoever to believe Ron DeSantis would use his army of militarized volunteers to do anything but wreak havoc on vulnerable people. 

This is the same person who hastily deployed the Florida National Guard to patrol anti-racist protesters demonstrating in response to George Floyd’s murder last year. This is the person who championed an “anti-riot” law struck down by a federal judge this year after plaintiffs claimed it was “designed to target those who protest police violence.”

MSNBC / Getty Images

It doesn’t require much of an imagination to think of all the ways this tyrannical, anti-science governor might like to use a weaponized force that’s accountable exclusively to him. 

DeSantis has spent the year attempting to heighten his political profile by goading President Joe Biden and his administration into conflict, particularly over Covid-19 safety measures. His call to establish a militia that serves at his whim is part of that trend. It follows an announcement from the Biden administration this week that National Guard members must be vaccinated or face loss of pay

DeSantis is one of the most prominent GOP trolls holding a governorship in America. However, his latest proposal is deeper than political gamesmanship. It’s yet another sign that the Republican Party is willing and ready to round up military forces in order to execute its radical visions for America. 

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