Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis is proposing to reinstate a 200-person “state guard” that will fall under the control of the governor’s office and not the federal government. 

The proposal has inflamed the governor’s liberal critics. They have gone overboard to accuse him of “creating a secret police” as well as being “extremely dangerous for the future of the United States.” 

According to DeSantis’s proposal, $3.5 million from the state’s military budget will be reallocated to the state guard unit. The funds will be utilized to “enable civilians to be trained in the best emergency response techniques” to assist in the “event of a hurricane, natural disasters, and other state emergencies.”

DeSantis’s proposal is part of his military budget which includes funds for establishing three new armories, a new National Guard Headquarters, and for supporting servicemembers who are working toward college degrees.

Florida last had a state guard during World War II. At the time, it took the place of Florida National Guard troops who were off to fight in the war. It was disbanded in 1947.

Florida State Guard patch
Florida State Guard patch (Florida History Museum)

DeSantis, who has had several pushbacks with the Biden administration said the reformation of the State Guard would “not be encumbered by the federal government,” adding that the state guard would give him “the flexibility and the ability needed to respond to events in our state in the most effective way possible.”

Nevertheless, liberals sent panic signals across social media where the governor’s critics claim he’s trying to create his own private paramilitary force. Pete Crist, the Democratic challenger to DeSantis’ gubernatorial campaign for re-election in 2022, lashed out at the proposal. “No Governor should have his own handpicked secret police,” Crist posted on Twitter. 

State Senator Annette Taddeo, another gubernatorial candidate, also took to Twitter stating that DeSantis was a “wannabe dictator trying to make his move for his own vigilante militia like we’ve seen in Cuba.”