Florida Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis is taking serious heat for an interview he gave on Fox News this morning in which he used racist dog-whistle terms to attack his Democratic opponent Andrew Gillum, who won an upset victory last night to claim the Democratic nomination for governor.
DeSantis called Gillum, who is African American, "articulate" and said Florida voters better not "monkey this up" by voting for Gillum.
Uh Ron DeSantis just said FL shouldn't "monkey this up" by electing Andrew Gillum https://t.co/nDPp3Hx7zc— Steve Morris (@Steve Morris)1535550579.0
"You know, this is a guy, although he’s much too liberal for Florida, I think he’s got huge problems with how he’s governed Tallahassee, you know he is an articulate spokesman for those far left views."
He went on:
"The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda."
People noted that referring to African-Americans as "articulate" and comparing them to monkeys are widely seen as traditional racist rhetorical ploys.
@acedriven @bec4311 @SadieInProgress @stevemorris__ Giving the impression most black people are something other than articulate usually— AIRPLANE MODE (@AIRPLANE MODE)1535553296.0
DeSantis was slammed for his remarks, and rightly so.
Racist trashpile & white nationalist @RonDeSantisFL publicly makes a guttural, hateful racist reference a/b… https://t.co/D1ZXxzO6eA— Mark Hughes (@Mark Hughes)1535552031.0
Republican strategist Ana Navarro was pointed in her criticism:
As a Floridian, it was my hope this Governor’s race would be about the pressing issues facing our state -rising tid… https://t.co/dehTBPR0MK— Ana Navarro-Cárdenas (@Ana Navarro-Cárdenas)1535554134.0
It really didn't take long, did it?
Didn't even take 24 hours for Andrew Gillum's Republican opponent to make an open appeal to bigotry on Fox News. https://t.co/t4aVyBgly2— Grant Stern (@Grant Stern)1535553265.0
In response to the uproar, Fox News tried to distance itself from DeSantis's comments. Anchor Sandra Smith, who hosted DeSantis on her show, said in a statement:
We do not condone this language and wanted to make our viewers aware that he has since clarified his statement.
Smith then read a statement from the DeSantis campaign, which claimed that attempts to "characterize" his remarks as racist are "absurd."
Ron 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. Florida’s economy has been on the move for the last eight years and the last thing we need is a far-left democrat trying to stop our success.
But the furor online continued.
Democratic strategist Scott Dworkin tweeted that DeSantis's use of a "racist dog whistle" was "disgusting."
.@RepDeSantis-Hey you lame slime ball, you need to withdraw from the race for using a racist dog whistle. Everyone… https://t.co/igJygTUkQm— Scott Dworkin (@Scott Dworkin)1535556212.0
Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo also tore into DeSantis: "It's disgusting that Ron DeSantis is launching his general election campaign with racist dog whistles."
"DeSantis's comments speak for themselves," Gillum's campaign spokesman Geoff Burgan added.
Virtually no one thinks it was an accident.
@stevemorris__ @NatalieGBorden How can a group of people be so unaware of their surroundings and the connotation of… https://t.co/OU1IcC8a9K— Deep State Dogs (@Deep State Dogs)1535551607.0
@DeepStateDogs @stevemorris__ @NatalieGBorden He is not, he knows exactly what he said. When is the last time you h… https://t.co/KkCujRYw6R— Allison (@Allison)1535551868.0
@Luke97337107 @allibeth63 @DeepStateDogs @stevemorris__ @NatalieGBorden That was absolutely deliberate.— Mike Prevost 🇫🇮🇪🇺🏳️🌈🌱 (@Mike Prevost 🇫🇮🇪🇺🏳️🌈🌱)1535552350.0
@ghost_girl13 @EhgYaytzo @thomas_ley @stevemorris__ No, I reckon he was thinking "muck it up," but his inner voices… https://t.co/r8Bk84C6sj— Matt Mitovich (@Matt Mitovich)1535553733.0
Even more disturbing is that DeSantis knows his base will gobble this up.
@mr_oogy_boogy @MikePrevost3 @Luke97337107 @allibeth63 @DeepStateDogs @stevemorris__ @NatalieGBorden Undoubtedly de… https://t.co/pVnHnQrIwB— YoSoyTormenta (@YoSoyTormenta)1535556680.0
Wow, this whole spiel is egregious and intentional. https://t.co/FO3oHGj4EU— Brian Beutler (@Brian Beutler)1535552632.0
@stevemorris__ @JordanUhl Just so it's clear that Ron DeSantis is a racist and he wants the racist vote. Also, he… https://t.co/Whw5w68H2g— Turkeys & Trumps get cooked in November🦃web rant (@Turkeys & Trumps get cooked in November🦃web rant)1535551547.0
@funder @RepDeSantis @AndrewGillum Playing right into Trump supporters’ hands— NotEvenPeople (@NotEvenPeople)1535557312.0
Dogwhistle? More like a foghorn.
@prominentplay @thehill That wasn’t a dog whistle. That was a foghorn!— Ken Odil (@Ken Odil)1535556434.0
@funder @RepDeSantis @AndrewGillum Dog whistle? No. More like a tornado siren!— Tom Patterson (@Tom Patterson)1535559741.0
Yikes https://t.co/vP5ZfmlR1j— Molly Jong-Fast (@Molly Jong-Fast)1535553885.0
@thehill https://t.co/OmSRssyGvj— 📎Alisha LeeAnn📎 (@📎Alisha LeeAnn📎)1535556115.0
@thehill Starting off very trumpy. Very.— J. P. Dancing Bear (@J. P. Dancing Bear)1535556136.0
It costs $0.00 to not be like this.
@funder @RepDeSantis @AndrewGillum These racist treasonous traitors think we're all as stupid as they are. Monkey t… https://t.co/GDEOR9D7oy— Tracy Turner (@Tracy Turner)1535557852.0
This is why it's imperative to vote.
@funder @RepDeSantis @AndrewGillum Republicans aren't even hiding it anymore. Or being coy. TOpen racism. Their fea… https://t.co/GmqGtROyuU— MarkMyWords (@MarkMyWords)1535558049.0
@funder @RepDeSantis @AndrewGillum Everyone must get out to vote and make sure we don’t end up w an awful men like… https://t.co/ahPvlUDTCe— stand for truth (@stand for truth)1535557196.0
@funder @RepDeSantis @AndrewGillum Floor-duh will vote for him. Florida will vote for the good guy.— FJ Elliott (@FJ Elliott)1535560412.0
Gillum has not commented on DeSantis's statements.