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 pic.twitter.com/nDPp3Hx7zc
— Steve Morris (@stevemorris__) August 29, 2018
“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.
Giving the impression most black people are something other than articulate usually
— AIRPLANE MODE (@BaySideZay) August 29, 2018
DeSantis was slammed for his remarks, and rightly so.
Racist trashpile & white nationalist @RonDeSantisFL publicly makes a guttural, hateful racist reference a/b @AndrewGillum. And of course, the white nationalist propaganda machine at Fox News eggs him on. These bigoted scum don't belong in civil society at all. #LockThemALLUp https://t.co/zctxLWcdN1
— Mark Hughes (@markhughesfilms) August 29, 2018
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 tides, algae outbreak, trade, economy, jobs. I had hoped it would not be one were racism was front and center. That hope lasted all of 10 hours. https://t.co/KeBENvMovw
— Ana Navarro-Cárdenas (@ananavarro) August 29, 2018
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 (@grantstern) August 29, 2018
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.