It didn’t take long for Ron DeSantis,the Republic nominee for Florida governor, to fire off a racist attack against Andrew Gillum, the state’s first Black nominee for the office.
On Wednesday, the Trump-backed nominee warned Florida voters in a TV interview not to “monkey this up” by electing Gillum, NBC News reported.
DeDantis’ racist comment came less than 24 hours after the two candidates won their party’s nomination in the Florida primary election.
“You know, he is an articulate spokesman for those far-left views and he’s a charismatic candidate. The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state. That is not going to work. That’s not going to be good for Florida,” DeSantis said on Fox News.
His comment brought swift rebuke.
“It’s disgusting that Ron DeSantis is launching his general election campaign with racist dog whistles,” said Terrie Rizzo, chairwoman of the Florida Democratic Party.
DeSantis’ spokesman denied that the congressman’s use of the word “monkey” was racist.
Trump rewarded DeSantis, a U.S. representative, with an endorsement in June for his loyalty. And the Republican nominee fits a pattern of Trump-inspired candidates who have boldly used racism to appeal to voters who sympathize with white supremacist views.
In June, Corey Stewart, a hardcore Trump supporter who came to prominence as a defender of Confederate symbols, beat his Republican rivals for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate from Virginia.
Meanwhile, Gillum is taking the high road. When asked for a response to DeSantis, Gillum’s spokesman Geoff Burgan said, “As we say in Tallahassee, bless his heart.”