U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis is already coming under fire from Democrats after saying the last thing Floridians need to do is “monkey this up” by electing Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum as governor.
DeSantis’ campaign says his comments were directed at Gillum’s policies and not the candidate himself.
DeSantis easily won the Republican nomination for Florida governor on Tuesday.
He went on Fox News to talk about the upcoming race against Gillum, who would be the state’s first black governor if elected in November.
DeSantis said Gillum was an “articulate spokesman” for “far left views.” But he said that, in his words, “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.”
Democrats called that a “racist dog whistle.” But Stephen Lawson, a spokesman for DeSantis, said the comment was about Gillum’s “socialist policies” and to “characterize it as anything else is absurd.”