Outgoing state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried wants the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate a claim by former President Donald Trump that he sent federal agents to South Florida to keep the 2018 election from being “stolen” from Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Fried, who narrowly was elected to her Cabinet post in 2018, asked U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland on Monday to investigate Trump’s assertion that he eliminated “ballot theft” in Broward County by using the FBI and federal prosecutors.
“There was no broad allegation that the election was being stolen from Ron DeSantis in favor of Andrew Gillum. I know because I was on the ballot in 2018,” Fried wrote in a letter to Garland. “Although there was a recount for both the race for governor, as well as my own, there was no fraud, and no foul play. To my knowledge, there was no involvement by the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the Office of the United States Attorney.”
Without offering evidence, Trump said in a social media post Thursday that he helped DeSantis secure his 2018 gubernatorial victory.
“(After) the Race, when votes were being stolen by the corrupt Election process in Broward County, and Ron was going down ten thousand votes a day, along with now-Senator Rick Scott, I sent in the FBI and the U.S. Attorneys, and the ballot theft immediately ended, just prior to them running out of the votes necessary to win. I stopped his Election from being stolen,” Trump wrote.
Trump’s statement came amid a widening rift with DeSantis, who is widely viewed as a leading Republican candidate for president in 2024.
Trump is expected to announce his 2024 presidential bid Tuesday night.
DeSantis, who was reelected last week, won his 2018 election over Gillum by about 32,000 votes. Scott won his U.S. Senate seat by about 10,000 votes over Democrat Bill Nelson.
Fried, the only statewide elected Democrat, will leave her Cabinet post in January after running unsuccessfully for governor this year.