This morning, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) tweeted that a man canvassing for his campaign in South Florida was attacked and severely beaten by four individuals who told him Republicans weren’t welcome in the neighborhood. Rubio said the man suffered internal bleeding and a broken jaw and that his injuries will require facial reconstruction surgery.
The police report tells a different tale. According to a local news outlet that obtained the report, the man was attacked by one person and there does not appear to be a political motive.
Rubio didn’t reveal the man’s name. But according to multiple reports, that man is Christopher Monzon, a former city council candidate in Hialeah, Florida with a history of ties to racist groups. Monzon, who also goes by Christopher Cedeno and is often referred to as the Cuban Confederate, was a prominent figure in the community pushing racist talking points and beliefs. He told the Daily Dot last year that he quit the white supremacist League of the South in 2018. He also said he regretted using racist slurs for Jewish and Black people.
Monzon, who reportedly attended the 2017 Unite the Right rally, further insisted that he had never been a white supremacist. His online history at the time cast some doubt on the extent to which he’d reformed.
Earlier this year, Monzon told the New York Times that he had been on a “path to deradicalization.”
Monzon ultimately lost his bid for local office. He remains active in local Republican politics, however.
On Monday, Rubio claimed that “four animals” attacked someone on Sunday night as he canvassed wearing a Rubio shirt and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) hat. Rubio tweeted that the alleged attackers “told him Republicans weren’t allowed in their neighborhood.”
He didn’t provide any additional information about the circumstances of the alleged assault.
The police report states that a man confronted an unidentified victim, who is purportedly Monzon, while he was canvassing in Hialeah. The report says the man told Monzon he couldn’t walk through his neighborhood. The two reportedly got into a verbal confrontation, then the man knocked him to the ground and began hitting him, police say.
At this time, an unidentified third party reportedly kicked the alleged assailant in the face then fled.
The police report does not reference a political dispute between Monzon and his alleged attacker. The latter was arrested and charged with felony battery.
On Monday, Miami Against Fascism first identified Monzon as the probable victim of the alleged attack. Photos of Monzon closely resemble those of the battered man in photos included in Rubio’s tweet. The president of the Miami Springs Republican Club told Miami New Times that Monzon is the alleged victim.
A Twitter account that Monzon reportedly associates with subsequently confirmed that it was him. It also said Monzon was canvassing for Rubio and DeSantis at the time.
Many condemned the violence and wished Monzon a speedy recovery.
Florida state Rep. Anna Eskamani (D) tweeted, “No matter one’s political party, no one should ever face violence. This sets a scary tone for anyone who is canvassing, too. I hope he recovers quickly and I wish safety to everyone.”
Monzon’s past muted some of the sympathy for him, however.
Many referenced Monzon’s previous behavior, including attending Unite the Right and getting arrested in Florida for charging at a crowd during a 2017 protest over a street named for a Confederate. He pled no contest to aggravated assault and received a withhold of adjudication in that case.
Others expressed skepticism about the circumstances Rubio described. Several noted that Hialeah is heavily Republican.
Rubio hasn’t commented further on the incident.
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*First Published: Oct 24, 2022, 3:50 pm CDT
Claire Goforth is a staff writer at the Daily Dot covering all things politics and technology with a focus on the far right and conspiracy theories.