On Wednesday, after securing a win in the Florida Republican gubernatorial primary, Donald Trump-backed GOP candidate, Ron DeSantis, let his racist flag fly in a controversial attack on his African-American opponent.
Just one day prior, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum made history in becoming the first black Democratic gubernatorial candidate in the state’s history, winning 34 percent of the vote.
However, in an effort to deter voters from appointing Florida’s first black governor in November’s general election, DeSantis shared a few words about 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,” DeSantis said, prompting widespread criticisms and accusations of racism.
“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.
Meanwhile, Democratic Governors Association Deputy Communications Director David Turner accused DeSantis of trying to divide the state with his hateful rhetoric.
“On the first day of the general election, Ron DeSantis showed Floridians who he really is,” Turner said. “Resorting to dog whistle politics within hours of winning the GOP nomination shows a desperate candidate who will stoop to new lows in order to court and give voice to fringe elements of society. Floridians want a leader who will bring them together; Ron DeSantis has shown that he would only divide Florida.”
Even Fox News attempted to distance itself from the Republican candidate, despite the fact that he made the comment on its network. However, the network did use the opportunity to emphasis the fact that DeSantis clarified his statement.
“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,” DeSantis’ campaign communications director said. “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.”