Republican Florida Rep urges Gov DeSantis to divest state from Big Tech companies

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Governor Ron DeSantis has been asked to fight back against the strong-arming and censorship of conservative voices by technology giants in the last few days.

One member of the Florida legislature has reportedly asked the Republican leader to cut off state tax dollars to Big Tech companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon because of their recent efforts to “silence tens of millions of good, patriotic Americans.”

In a letter sent to DeSantis on Tuesday, state Rep. Randy Fine condemned last week’s violence at the U.S. Capitol but also criticized the move by the technology companies to “silence” President Donald Trump and his supporters in the aftermath.

“This morning I asked the Governor and Cabinet to divest the state from Amazon, Twitter, Apple, Google, and Facebook,” Fine wrote on social media. “They may get to decide who they do business with. So do we.”

“This is dangerous. And when half the country can’t speak with their words, they’re going to end up speaking in other ways,” the Central Florida lawmaker said on WESH-TV. “What happens if some very conservative person comes to be in charge of Twitter, and shuts down Joe Biden. I wouldn’t support that either.”

Fine’s letter to DeSantis asked that he order the “immediate divestment of any Florida-held equity and debt” of Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Alphabet – Google’s parent company.

“Last week’s attack of the United States Capitol was one of the saddest days of my life,” Fine wrote. “Those terrorists defiled a sacred temple of democracy, and in my mind, there is no penalty too severe for them.”

“I say this because those terrorists do not define me,” he added. “They do not define you… And they do not define conservatives.”

“I am deeply disturbed to see the country’s major technology companies use the actions of these few as a pretext to silence tens of millions of good, patriotic Americans, millions of whom live here in Florida,” the congressman continued.

“No matter what one thinks about President Trump, he remains the duly-elected president of the United States until noon on January 20th,” Fine added. “If the president of the United States can be silenced by these companies, then so can anyone.”

“These companies allow actual terrorists around the world to use their platforms to target America, Americans, and our allies, without as much as a peep,” the legislator wrote.

“Florida taxpayers should not be forced to do business with entities that censor them,” Fine wrote, adding that he will be introducing legislation banning state and local governments from doing business with the companies beginning in July.

The state’s Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis retweeted Fine’s post, adding that “we should consider getting this on the next Cabinet agenda.”

Naturally, Democrats in the Sunshine State are pushing back against Fine’s criticism of the companies.

“These social media companies stepped forward to take responsibility! They didn’t want to be complicit in additional acts of violence and insurrection,” Florida House Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith told WESH-TV.

“While there are issues with technology platforms worth addressing, Rep. Fine’s letter isn’t a solution. It’s just red meat for supporters of this president,” Democratic Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said.

Whether or not DeSantis will move ahead on the bold move Fine has suggested remains to be seen, but many Twitter users seemed to like the idea.

Frieda Powers

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