The racist dog whistle that was blown by the GOP’s nominee for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, against his opponent Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, apparently caught the attention of the alleged mail bomber Cesar Sayoc.
Sayoc frequently targeted the African-American candidate on Twitter the Miami Herald reported.
Authorities arrested Sayoc, 56, in South Florida on Friday. He’s accused of sending at least 14 homemade bombs through the U.S. Postal Service to high-profile political opponents of President Donald Trump, including former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The suspected terrorist reportedly tweeted support for DeSantis, who has Trump’s endorsement. DeSantis, a former congressman, has used race as a weapon in waging his campaign battles.
“I call on all political leaders to cease the dangerous rhetoric of hatred and division that is poisoning our society. I believe that what is decent and what is right in our society will triumph and that hate will never win. Together, we must fight fiercely for a more decent and a more respectful state for all of us,” Gillum said after Sayoc’s arrest.
Gillum was not told of any direct threats against him. But he was clearly on Sayoc’s radar. Starting on Sept. 30, the suspected terrorist began tweeting, almost obsessively, about Gillum. Shortly after Gillum and DeSantis debated each other on Oct. 21, Sayoc fired off at least 22 negative images of the Black candidate on Twitter.
Sayoc, who was described as a white supremacist by people who knew him, was not alone in answering DeSantis’ call. Less than 24 hours after winning the GOP nomination in August, DeSantis blew a racist dog whistle when he warned Florida voters not to “monkey this up” by voting for Gillum. Not long after, white supremacists answered the whistle by sending out racist robocalls. Another series of robocalls attacking Gillum went out during their Oct. 21 debate. DeSantis has a long history of associating with white nationalists.