Just hours after clinching the Republican nomination in the Florida governor race, Rep. Ron DeSantis is facing serious backlash for a comment he made on “America’s Newsroom” Wednesday.
DeSantis warned voters against voting for his opponent Andrew Gillum — who happens to be black — by saying, “The last thing we need to do is monkey this up.”
DeSantis explained that Gillum, the Bernie-Sanders-backed former mayor of Tallahassee, leaned too far toward socialism for the red state of Florida, which President Donald Trump easily carried in 2016. Gillum’s platform includes a $15 minimum wage and Medicare for all.
DeSantis appeared to be referencing the economy when he made the now-viral comment: “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,” he said. “That’s not going to work. That’s not going to be good for Florida.”
The economy and Gillum’s more socialist views have often been a theme for DeSantis, who told Laura Ingraham Tuesday night, “I’m trying to make Florida even better. He’s trying to make Florida Venezuela.”
— Fox News (@FoxNews) August 29, 2018
But because Gillum is black, DeSantis’ comments were immediately interpreted as openly and intentionally racist:
DeSantis calls Gillum “articulate spokesman for far-left views” and says ‘the last thing we need to do is monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda…..’
Real subtle, dude. https://t.co/UtR6uCcFsM
— Jennifer Hayden (@Scout_Finch) August 29, 2018
What? Excuse me?
That Republican dog whistle is more like a megaphone lately.
GOP nominee for #FLGov Ron DeSantis just said Florida shouldn’t “monkey this up” by electing Andrew Gillum.
— Holly Figueroa O’Reilly (@AynRandPaulRyan) August 29, 2018
He called him “articulate” then said don’t “monkey” this up. They’ve only been running against each other for about 12 hrs in Florida.
— Bakari Sellers (@Bakari_Sellers) August 29, 2018
He really just said “monkey this up.” pic.twitter.com/rqCU4cvcQH
— deray (@deray) August 29, 2018
Day 1 of DeSantis vs Gillum and DeSantis on Fox News uses the phrase “monkey this up” describing the race. pic.twitter.com/khKg6OA64J
— Matt Deitsch (@MattxRed) August 29, 2018
To make matters worse, “monkey this up” isn’t even a commonly used expression.
Anyone inclined to say, “Oh, you’re hearing something that isn’t there” should keep in mind that “monkey this up” is not an expression.
— Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) August 29, 2018
However, a DeSantis spokesperson says that he uses the phrase frequently, and there was no racial meaning implied.
DeSantis’ spox tells me this is something the congressman says “frequently” to express something that was messed up or not done right.
— Ali Vitali (@alivitali) August 29, 2018
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