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MIAMI (CBSMiami/CNN) – Republican gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis’ win in the primary election is being overshadowed by a remark he made on Fox News that many people have called racist.
The day after his election win, DeSantis appeared on Fox and Friends where he was asked about his opponent Andrew Gillum’s handling of the economy. Gillum, if elected, would become the state’s first African-American governor.
“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,” said DeSantis.
DeSantis, who received support from President Donald Trump before and after the election, said calls that he is racist are absurd.
DeSantis campaign put out a statement that the remark was not racist, but stopped short of offering an apology to those who may have viewed it that way.
“I think he should also apologize because obviously a lot of Floridians and probably a lot of Americans were offended by it given the circumstances,” said Republican state Rep. Carlos Curbelo.
While the congressman said he’s never known DeSantis to make a racist comment, he doesn’t think he set a good example.
“That was just a stupid comment to make, one that was obviously offense to a lot of people,” he said.
On MSNBC, Gillum said this is more Trump style politics.
“He doesn’t need to apologize to me. He needs to apologize to Florida voters because if he thinks that those kind of shenanigans are going to be persuasive enough in this midterm election to turn things their way I think he’s badly mistaken,” said Gillum.
On the Sean Hannity Show Wednesday night on Fox, once again DeSantis said his comment had nothing to do with race.
“It has zero to do with race, Sean, it has everything to do with whether we want Florida to continue to go in a good direction building off the success or do we want to turn left-wing socialist policies which will absolutely devastate our state,” he said.
In the primary election, Gillum upset a field of five that included former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, who was hoping to become the state’s first female governor.