MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis is 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 made the comment during a Wednesday interview on Fox News. DeSantis easily won the Republican nomination for governor a day earlier. Gillum won the Democratic nomination in an upset. He could be the state’s first black governor.
DeSantis said Gillum was “articulate spokesman” for “far left views.” But he said that he would hurt the state if elected.
“The last thing, 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,” DeSantis said.
Florida Democratic Party chairwoman Terrie Rizzo called his comments “disgusting” and said he was launching his general election campaign with “racist dog whistles.”
Gillum says the state is looking for a leader who will bring people together, “not misogynist, not racist, not bigots.”
Tallahassee Andrew Gillum, who would be Florida’s first black governor, told CNN Wednesday that he wants to “build a Florida that makes room for all of us and not just some of us.”
President Donald Trump, on Twitter, criticized Gillum as a “failed socialist mayor” and praised Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis, who credits the president for helping him win.
Gillum said, “DeSantis can do the bidding of big business and big lobbyists and Donald Trump and his divisive rhetoric. I’m going to be here to do the business of the people of the state of Florida.”
President Donald Trump is casting the Democratic nominee for Florida governor, Andrew Gillum, as a “failed socialist mayor” who will lose to Rep. Don DeSantis in November.
Gillum on Tuesday won an upset in the Democratic primary for governor and edged out several other candidates. Trump’s endorsement helped DeSantis beat Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam in the Republican primary.
Trump on Wednesday tweeted out that not only did DeSantis win, but that “his opponent in November is his biggest dream.” Gillum is mayor of the city of Tallahassee and Trump said Gillum has “allowed crime and many other problems to flourish in the city.”
Tallahassee has had one of the highest crime rates in the state the last few years, although it has been going down.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)