According to the plan, the Republican state leader would control the civilian-military force to assist "state-specific emergencies."
The GOP governor's $3.5 million dollar plan would use funds from the state's armed forces budget and would "enable civilians to be trained in the best emergency response techniques," enabling them to assist in the "event of a hurricane, natural disasters and other state emergencies."
The initiative is not without historical precedent. Florida had its own State Guard during World War II to replace members of the National Guard serving overseas, although the entity was later disbanded in 1947.
Several other states across the country, including New York and California, have similar civilian forces, many of those who support DeSantis have pointed out.
Some commentators are criticizing the very idea of a State Guard, however. Pundits in the mainstream media have "alleged the Florida governor was attempting to establish his own paramilitary force," as per Fox News.
Florida agriculture commissioner Nikki Fried wrote on Twitter: "Can't believe I have to say this, but Florida doesn't need a paramilitary force that only answers to @RonDeSantisFL. Millions of Floridians know what it's like to live under regimes like this — and came to our state to escape them. This must be stopped."
"No Governor should have his own hand picked secret police," pressed Rep. Charlie Christ, a 2022 Florida gubernatorial Democrat candidate.
"Florida governor Ron DeSantis is either openly preparing for a break from the federal government or he wants his followers to *believe* he is. Either way, it's extremely dangerous for the future of the United States," commented former Obama administration official Brandon Friedman.
MSNBC host Joy Reid sounded the alarm, describing the proposal as "fascisty bananas" on Twitter. The tweet garnered over 17,000 likes, but even liberal actress Sarah Silverman pushed back against Reid's hyperbolic remark: "Please read the article before you post this stuff you’re a news outlet. The truth has to matter."
In the CNN article shared by left-wing figures across social media, the published piece covering the proposal doesn't acknowledge that Florida would be the 23rd state to establish such a force until the write-up's fourth paragraph.
"WOW: GOP Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis wants to form a personal militia like the 'political' leaders in Iraq have. It would be a militia that only answers to him. This is the beginning of a 'Red Army' as the GOP prepares for war. Literally," liberal SiriusXM radio host Dean Obeidallah reacted to the CNN report.