The far-right activist Laura Loomer recently labeled Ron DeSantis as a “tyrant.” The comments came after she and other Trump supporters were barred from a book signing staged by the Florida governor.
“They told me to say anybody wearing Trump has to go right now,” a uniformed officer said in video posted online by Loomer, a failed congressional candidate, conspiracy theorist, Islamophobe and rightwing political gadfly.
“DeSantis people are in there telling me to come out to tell you guys not to be here while he’s here,” the officer said.
Loomer said: “Governor DeSantis, he always talks about how he’s in favour of free speech. So do we have a first amendment right to be here, to rally in support of President Trump?”
“Right you do,” said the officer. “But not now.”
Loomer asked: “DeSantis’s people told you that we have to leave?”
The officer said: “Yes.”
Later, Loomer told the Daily Beast: “Police showed up and they told us that we were going to be cited and arrested for trespassing if we didn’t leave because DeSantis didn’t want us inside. It shows that he’s a tyrant.”
It has been noted that DeSantis has not declared a run for the presidential nomination in 2024 but remains the only close challenger to Trump in polling. Pursuing hardline culture-war policies including banning books in schools and restricting the teaching of LGBTQ+ issues in elementary schools, he has carved out a formidable national profile.
DeSantis’s book, The Courage to Be Free, was published on Tuesday. In his review, Lloyd Green of the Guardian noted that DeSantis does not attack Trump on the page, saying: “It’s all about bowing and scraping.”
Trump has, however, attacked DeSantis, including floating abusive nicknames. DeSantis’s book signing on Tuesday was at a branch of Books A Million in Leesburg. Loomer and others attended in Trump regalia and holding Trump signs.