Ron DeSantis under fire for saying Florida can’t ‘monkey this up’ by picking Andrew Gillum

August 29, 2018

Republican candidate Rep. Ron DeSantis is under fire Wednesday for using the phrase “monkey this up” in referring to his Florida gubernatorial race against Andrew Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee and a black man.

“The last thing we need is to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda,” he said on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom.”

Mr. DeSantis criticized his opponent for being too liberal for Florida but said Mr. Gillum is a charismatic politician and “articulate spokesman” for those on the far-left.

“I watched those Democratic debates. None of it was my cup of tea, but I mean he performed better than the other people there,” he said.

Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo called Mr. DeSantis’ comments “disgusting” and accused him of diving into the race with “racist dog whistles.”

It’s disgusting that Ron DeSantis is launching his general election campaign with racist dog whistles. #FlaPol https://t.co/T9qRVYtbv3 Terrie Rizzo (@TerrieRizzo) August 29, 2018

Mr. DeSantis, who secured the Republican nomination Tuesday night, is backed by President Trump.

Mr. Gillum beat out his establishment Democrat opponents to become the first African-American gubernatorialnominee.

Not only did Congressman Ron DeSantis easily win the Republican Primary, but his opponent in November is his biggest dream....a failed Socialist Mayor named Andrew Gillum who has allowed crime many other problems to flourish in his city. This is not what Florida wants or needs! Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 29, 2018

WATCH: @SandraSmithFox spoke with @RepDeSantis about winning the Republican primary for FL Governor last night and his opponent @AndrewGillum #nine2noon pic.twitter.com/r9hBvQpdaj America’s Newsroom (@AmericaNewsroom) August 29, 2018

“America’s Newsroom” host Sandra Smith address the growing backlash on air after Mr. DeSantis’ interview.

“Ron DeSantis was obviously talking about Florida not making the wrong decision to embrace the socialist policies that Andrew Gillum espouses,” DeSantis campaign Communications Director Stephen Lawson said in a statement to Fox News. “To characterize it as anything else is absurd.”

Ms. Smith distanced the show from Mr. DeSantis’ comments and said: “We do not condone this language.”

Update hourly