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Congressman Donalds: NAACP Travel Advisory “Silly and Dumb”

A stunt claiming that the Sunshine State is hostile to minorities faces ridicule from Floridians.

FLORIDA — Just in time for Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer for most travelers, the NAACP and other groups have issued a travel advisory accusing Florida of being “openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color and LGBTQ individuals.”

But Governor Ron DeSantis’ office shared data last week on the record number of tourists flocking to the state. In fact, Florida saw 37.9 million tourists in the first three months of 2023, breaking a record for a single quarter.


“This is nothing more than a stunt,” said DeSantis’ press secretary Jeremy Redfern pointing to data that shows Florida is more popular than ever.

On Sunday, Mayor Jane Castor of Tampa tweeted “I can absolutely assure anyone and everyone considering a visit or move to Tampa that they will be welcomed with open arms,” as she touted the Gulf Coast city as one of America’s friendliest.

Castor, a Democrat who was recently re-elected, seized an opportunity to take a jab at DeSantis adding, “That will never change, regardless of what happens in Tallahassee.”

Last month, DeSantis told Floridians the state is “combating negative national economic headwinds by promoting policies that support Florida businesses and families and attract record numbers of tourists every day.”

In an interview with Fox News, VISIT Florida CEO Dana Young said Florida is “one of the safest places in the country” and has been ranked as one of the states with the most black-owned businesses.


Redfern tweeted an image of the profile of NAACP Board of Directors Chair Leon Russell, which shows that he resides in Tampa. “Florida for me but not for thee,” Redfern wrote as he shared the screenshots.

U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Naples) quickly pointed out how ridiculous the “advisory” was criticizing the NAACP’s move during an interview on Fox & Friends.

“I don’t even know what the NAACP is talking about,” Donalds said. “This is silly and it’s dumb. It’s political. It makes no sense. We should be focused on making sure people actually have the opportunity to achieve, which Florida is actually doing and thriving in, way better than other states.”

Bryan Griffin, a former DeSantis staffer, responded on Twitter by calling for a “travel advisory” against the New York Times, Washington Post, MSNBC, CNN and Politico – accusing them of being “openly hostile to the truth.”

“Fake media narrative -> activist group stunt -> media coverage of the stunt at 100% intensity and 0% investigative curiosity,” Griffin wrote on Twitter.