In a surprise upset for the establishment set, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum won the Democratic primary in Florida’s gubernatorial race on Tuesday night. Gillum beat out more moderate candidates like Gwen Graham and Phillip Levine who far outspent him. If elected he’ll be the first black governor of Florida.
Naturally, the race is already becoming racist.
In an interview with Fox News on Wednesday morning, Florida’s Republican gubernatorial candidate, Congressman Ron DeSantis, conceded that the Gillum is a charismatic and “articulate spokesman” for “far left views.” Cue the Kill Bill sirens, because fawning over black articulacy is already a warning sign that reads “Potential Fuckery Ahead.” And DeSantis delivered.
DeSantis followed up his questionable praise of Gillum with a warning to Floridians who have embraced his Trump-endorsed candidacy: “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.”
Yes, that’s what he said. Terrie Rizzo, chair of the Florida Democrats, called DeSantis’s comments “disgusting,” adding that the Republican candidate was “launching his general election campaign with racist dog whistles.”
In a statement, DeSantis’s communications director expressed incredulity that anyone would find the phrasing racist:
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. 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.
Gillum camp’s response was short and sweet: “As we say in Tallahassee, bless his heart.”
DeSantis’s comments come shortly after Donald Trump trotted out familiar talking points, calling Gillum a “failed Socialist mayor” who has “allowed crime to flourish in his city.”Whether DeSantis replaced his dog whistle with a blow horn or this was an innocent slip of the tongue, one thing is certain: November feels a lifetime away.