Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in advance of a speech white nationalist Richard Spencer is scheduled to give at the University of Florida.
In an executive order issued Monday, Scott warned that a 'threat of a potential emergency is imminent' in Alachua County, in north Florida. Spencer is slated to speak at the campus on Thursday.
Spencer participated in a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that led to deadly violence in August. He and his supporters continuously chanted: 'You will not replace us' and 'Jews will not replace us'.
Scott's executive order will allow local law-enforcement authorities to partner with state and other law-enforcement agencies to provide security for the event. The university has already said it expects to spend $500,000 on security.
Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in advance of a speech that white nationalist Richard Spencer (pictured, November 2016) is scheduled to give at the University of Florida on Thursday
Scott's (pictured, September 2017) executive order will allow local law-enforcement authorities to partner with state and other law-enforcement agencies to provide security for the event
The governor is also activating the Florida National Guard to help with security if it is needed. Scott said he declared the emergency after discussing Spencer's speech with Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell.
'We live in a country where everyone has the right to voice their opinion. However, we have zero tolerance for violence and public safety is always our number one priority,' Scott said in a statement.
'This executive order is an additional step to ensure that the University of Florida and the entire community is prepared so everyone can stay safe.'
Spencer said the emergency declaration was 'flattering' but 'most likely overkill'.
'I'm not a hurricane or an invading army, at least not literally,' he said during a telephone interview Monday.
The University of Florida (pictured) has already said it expects to