DeSantis shares stage with activist who posted QAnon-related conspiracy theories on social media
TALLAHASSEE — A Miami activist Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office handpicked to amplify his criticism of critical race theory has espoused views aligned with QAnon conspiracy theories and appears to support those who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Eulalia Maria Jimenez, the chair of the Miami chapter of Moms for Liberty, stood with DeSantis earlier this week as he touted legislation to combat critical race theory. During the press conference, Jimenez described last year’s demonstrations after George Floyd’s killing as “race wars” and railed against critical race theory teachings.
But on Instagram, Jimenez echoed QAnon conspiracy theories by writing about “children being smuggled through underground tunnels for the enjoyment of demons” and posting a picture from the Jan. 6 riots with a caption that said “the storm is upon us. Trust the process.” She also called Covid vaccines “poison.”
This marks the second time this year where the Republican governor — seen as a potential frontrunner for the 2024 presidential race — has given the spotlight to someone who appears to embrace conspiracy theories. During a September press conference, DeSantis stood by as a speaker told reporters he refused to take Covid-19 vaccines because it “changes your RNA.”
Jimenez, in a brief phone interview with POLITICO, declined to say whether she is a QAnon follower and did not want to discuss her social media posts.
“What I am is a concerned parent fighting for the liberties of parents and children in the school system,” said Jimenez, whose group Moms for Liberty has been critical of Miami-Dade school officials over mask mandates.
Jimenez, whose postings had been previously noted on Twitter by a group calling itself Miami Against Fascism, claimed that she has been harassed by people affiliated with Miami antifa groups and that they had been posting “lies” about her and other concerned citizens. She said it was “very sad” that someone would “fall for that narrative.”
Christina Pushaw, a spokesperson for the governor, defended the decision to invite Jimenez to the Wednesday press conference in Ocala and said that what she said at the press conference was “fully on board” with DeSantis’s message.
“She was not chosen because of posting right wing or conspiratorial content,” Pushaw said. She added that the administration picked Jimenez because of her involvement with Moms for Liberty, a nonprofit of mostly conservative parents that advocates for parental choice and against mask mandates and critical race theory.
Pushaw said that Jimenez has “1st Amendment rights” to say what she wants on other topics.
“It’s not on us to look into their private social media account and police what they say,” she said. “We want people on stage that is line with our message.”
DeSantis during the Wednesday press conference called for the GOP-controlled Florida Legislature to pass a bill that would codify an already existing ban on the use of critical race theory in public schools. DeSantis called critical race theory “crap” being pushed by “elites” and said he wants to give parents the right to sue school districts that teach lessons rooted in the idea that racism is embedded in institutions and policies.
During the press conference, Jimenez told the crowd that her father had been a political prisoner in his native Cuba. She described herself as a mother of six and a holistic therapist who became politically active in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and last year’s protests.
She said that as she became politically engaged, she became aware of a “full on attack on our humanity, our country, our children” and lambasted critical race theory. “Critical race theory, no matter which way you slice it, breeds division and segregation,” Jimenez said.
After she spoke, DeSantis said, “You’re wonderful. That was so good.”
On Jimenez’s Instagram account, affiliated with her holistic health business called “Mystic Evolution,” she posted items praising former President Donald Trump and others that include the hashtag “#greatawakening,” a term used to describe the baseless QAnon theory that authorities will arrest Democrats for allegedly running a global sex ring.
In a video she posted in August on Instagram, Jimenez said: “Muzzling humanity across the board is not political, mandating people to inject themselves with a poison is not political, men becoming women, women becoming men is not political. Children being smuggled in underground tunnels for the enjoyment of demons is not political. Wake up.”