Well, the congressman sure mucked that up.
Ron DeSantis, the U.S. Representative for Florida’s 6th congressional district and now the GOP candidate in the state’s upcoming gubernatorial election, has drawn fire for using the word “monkey” when dissing the idea of voting for his newly minted opponent, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum.
Having pulled off a major upset in Tuesday’s Democratic primary, Gillum represents Florida’s first African-American nominee for governor.
During an appearance on Fox News, the Trump-backed DeSantis warned (at the 0:34 mark above) that “the last thing we need to do is monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda,” which he argues the Bernie Sanders-backed Gillum will propagate if elected governor.
DeSantis is also being accused of employing racist “dog whistles” by saying Gillum is an “articulate” speaker who “performed better” at the debates than his rivals.
Florida’s Democratic party chair, Terrie Rizzo, was quick to admonish the GOP candidate’s choice of words, tweeting, “It’s disgusting that Ron DeSantis is launching his general election campaign with racist dog whistles.”
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UPDATE: Gillum thus far has simply retweeted Rizzo’s commentary, but will appear on Shep Smith’s Fox News program Wednesday afternoon.
DeSantis’ camp has since issued a statement shared on Fox News, attesting that the candidate “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.”