Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) finds himself in trouble once again. A commissioner he just appointed to a heavily Black populated county is allegedly appearing in a viral photo wearing a KKK hood and robe. The former IRS employee, Jeffrey Moore (R), immediately turned in his resignation. But the governor has yet to denounce his employee’s Ku Klux Klan outfit.
The photo could not have surfaced at a worse time for DeSantis. He is running for his second term in the gubernatorial race. He has also been sending out feelers about a presidential run in 2024. Thus far, DeSantis has remained silent over his employee’s KKK photo and abrupt resignation.
Gadsden County Sheriff Morris Young, who is Black, endorsed DeSantis but was surprised at the governor’s silence, The POLITICO reported:
‘He never denied at all. Refuted nothing when I showed him the pictures. I thought he needed to resign, and I told him that.’
The former commission was the only member of the GOP assigned to a five-member board. Moore had been campaigning for a permanent position in a District 2 race in the November elections, but that, too, halted.
Moore turned in a brief resignation letter to DeSantis. But there was no reason attached to the letter, according to The Tallahassee Democrat:
‘Please accept this notification of my resignation, effective this date of Sept. 23, 2022, from the Gadsden County Board of County Commissioners. Thank you for the opportunity to have served in the position, however for personal reasons I am no longer able to continue.’
Gadsden County Commissioner and former school teacher Brenda Holt worked with Moore. One of the county’s residents sent her the photo in a text several days ago. She has been fielding angry calls from the local residents and even students:
‘I really got this gut feeling in the bottom of my stomach. It’s just total disrespect. People are upset. I don’t know the history of that photo, but I do know that people depend on us in politics to do better. I’m concerned about young people seeing this.’
The clergy in Moore’s district will have a press conference Wednesday morning. Minister Tracey Stallworth lives in Moore’s district. The pastor commented on the photo, saying he was “shocked” when he saw the picture last week:
‘[The photo] appears to be him, but we’re going to formally ask for the truth. We deserve that. t’s a very sad day in our history and a sad time for this county … the blackest county in the state. This is not OK.’
Moore released an emailed statement to the Tallahassee Democrat. He wrote that he was busy readying for Hurricane Ian and was “in the middle of hurricane preparations.” But he added that he would talk to the newspaper sometime next week.
Moore may have been attending a costume party years ago. The photograph featured a smiling young man with his arms upraised. He was wearing the KKK ensemble. But the low resolution makes identification difficult. Of course, Moore’s resignation speaks volumes. The other four people in the photo had their faces obliterated. But the photo showed they had drinks in hand, and one of them was dancing. In the background may have been what was a Halloween skeleton.
The former commission had no opponent in his commissioner primary and would have run against Alonzetta Johnson-Simpkins (D). As of now, it is uncertain whether Johnson-Simpkins would be the only individual on the ticket or another Republican would run against her.
This was not the Florida governor’s first difficulty with one of his employees:
‘Three years ago, another DeSantis-appointed official resigned from office after a similar incident involving a leaked photo. Michael Ertel, the secretary of state, resigned after photos emerged of him posing as a Hurricane Katrina victim in blackface years earlier at a private Halloween party.’
No word on whether DeSantis will condemn Moore’s actions.
Featured image is a screenshot via Twitter.
Gloria Christie Reports & Three White Lions Substack newsletters. Written in her own unique style with a twist of humor. Christie is a political journalist for the liberal online newspaper The Bipartisan Report. Christie’s Mueller Report Adventures In Bite-Sizes a real-life compelling spy mystery (in progress). Find her here on Facebook. Or at Three White Lions her book on Amazon Kindle Vella and Gloria Christie’s podcast.