WATCH: DeSantis Calls Out NAACP Leaders Who Vacation in Florida

May 25, 2023

Republican governor and presidential candidate Ron DeSantis (Fla.) called out leaders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for vacationing in Florida after the organization warned black people not to visit the state.

"I can tell you since I've been governor, some of the people who've contributed to our record tourism have been board members of the NAACP," DeSantis said in a Fox News appearance Wednesday night following his 2024 presidential campaign announcement. "They put pictures of their Florida vacation on their social media accounts."

DeSantis's response comes a week after the NAACP warned black people to avoid traveling to Florida due to "openly hostile" policies. The NAACP's "travel advisory" did not cite any data, but the Washington Free Beacon reported Tuesday that data show that "black Floridians enjoy lower unemployment, higher median incomes, and lower rates of both hate crimes and police killings than their counterparts in other states."

The chairman of the NAACP, Leon Russell, lives in Tampa and has lived in the state for most of his life. Another board member, Karen Towns, posted photos in 2021 of her trip to Clearwater.

When confronted with a statement from the Florida Chamber of Commerce saying the state is the "number-one spot in the United States for black-owned businesses," the president of the group called it "propaganda language."

"First of all, this propaganda language over the last several years wasn't because of anything [Florida governor Ron DeSantis (R.)] did in policy," NAACP president Derrick Johnson said.

LGBT groups joined the NAACP this week in warning against visits to Florida, declaring Florida unsafe for the LGBT community.

"In the wake of Florida’s most anti-LGBTQ legislative session in history, Equality Florida and the Human Rights Campaign have issued an updated travel advisory that details risks associated with relocation or travel to the state," the organizations said in a statement. The groups allege that anti-LGBT laws, gun laws, abortion restrictions, and "racial prejudice" make the Sunshine State a "hostile" place for those who identify as LGBT.

Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called out DeSantis and his state Tuesday. "Ron DeSantis's ultra-MAGA Florida isn't safe for people of color, LGBTQ+ people, or even multi-billion dollar corporations," she tweeted.