Fresh off his victory in the Florida Republican gubernatorial primary on Tuesday night, Rep. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday morning that voters would “monkey this up” if they elected his African-American opponent, Andrew Gillum to be governor because of his “socialist agenda.”
Calling him “an articulate spokesman” for the far left, DeSantis said during an interview on Fox News when asked about his opponent Gillum, “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.”
Gillum, who is African American, would become the state’s first black governor if he were to win in November.
Democrats in Florida were quick to respond to the comments made by DeSantis.
“It’s disgusting that Ron DeSantis is launching his general election campaign with racist dog whistles,” Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo said in a statement. The Gillum campaign pointed to this statement when asked for a response.
Stephen Lawson, communications director for the DeSantis campaign, later said that DeSantis was “obviously talking about Florida not making the wrong decision to embrace the socialist policies that Andrew Gillum espouses.”
“To characterize it as anything else is absurd,” he said.
By Caroline Kenny, CNN