Florida’s Republican gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis opened up his first full day on the campaign trail for the state’s highest office by warning voters not to “monkey this up” by electing his Democratic opponent Andrew Gillum — the first African American person to be nominated for governor by a major party in the sunshine state.
“We’ve gotta work hard that we continue Florida going in a good direction, lets build off the success we’ve had on governor Scott,” DeSantis told Sandra Smith on Fox News Wednesday morning. “The last thing we need to do is monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state.”
The comments were immediately seized upon online, where they whipped around Twitter with many saying the racial implications were unavoidable.
Didn't even take 24 hours for Andrew Gillum's Republican opponent to make an open appeal to bigotry on Fox News. https://t.co/t4aVyBgly2
— Grant Stern (@grantstern) August 29, 2018
ah, couldn’t even wait until after labor day to do a racism https://t.co/9YY1p2mLWQ
— b-boy bouiebaisse (@jbouie) August 29, 2018
Wow, this whole spiel is egregious and intentional. https://t.co/FO3oHGj4EU
— Brian Beutler (@brianbeutler) August 29, 2018
Racist trashpile & white nationalist @RonDeSantisFL publicly makes a guttural, hateful racist reference a/b @AndrewGillum. And of course, the white nationalist propaganda machine at Fox News eggs him on. These bigoted scum don't belong in civil society at all. #LockThemALLUp https://t.co/zctxLWcdN1
— Mark Hughes (@markhughesfilms) August 29, 2018
— Molly Jong-Fast (@MollyJongFast) August 29, 2018
DeSantis also just called Gillum "… an articulate spokesman …" https://t.co/4Ebco2UGTb
— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) August 29, 2018
DeSantis, a U.S. congressman from the Jacksonville area who is strongly pro-Trump and has earned the president’s full backing, has become known for his frequent appearances on Fox News and his colorful embrace of the real estate magnate.
In one much-maligned campaign commercial, DeSantis used his children as a prop and showed him building a model border wall in his home and reciting passages from “The Art of The Deal.”
“Then Mr. Trump said ‘you’re fired,'” DeSantis reads as a bemused infant looks on. “I love that part.”