Michael Steele rips Ron DeSantis over Andrew Gillum ‘monkey this up’ remark

August 29, 2018

The criticism of Florida gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis as racist has spread to a former chairman of the Republican National Committee.

In an interview Wednesday on MSNBC, Michael Steele said he would not give the benefit of the doubt to Mr. Santis, who won the Republican primary Tuesday with President Trumps support, for using the phrase monkey this up about the Democratic winner Andrew Gillum, who is black.

“It’s not because he’s connected to Trump,” Mr. Steele said, parrying a suggestion from host Chuck Todd. “It’s because it’s how white folks talk about black men who are successful.”

Mr. Steele went on to note, following a clip played from the Fox News interview in which Mr. DeSantis used the phrase, that the Republican candidate had used other racial dog whistles.

“I heard ‘articulate,’ ‘performs well,’” Mr. Steele said about other word choices. “You can hear him checking off his boxes.”

The use of such terms of praise, which many blacks see as patronizing, “doesn’t happen to a lot of white candidates,” Mr. Steele said.

Mr. Steele concluded that Mr. DeSantis used the “monkey” image, and the other word choices, “to that Fox audience ... [to communicate] ‘this is the land of Trump. I took the Trump train to Stupidland’.”

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