Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis of Florida fired back Wednesday, defending himself against media sources that attributed racial motivation to comments he made about his gubernatorial challenger, Tallahassee Democratic Mayor Andrew Gillum.
“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,” DeSantis said on Fox New’s “America’s Newsroom.”
DeSantis faced backlash mere hours after winning his state’s Republican nomination after the comment was misconstrued to seemingly refer to his opponent’s race.
Most notably was CNN’s out-of-context headline Florida GOP Gubernatorial Nominee Says A Vote For His Black Opponent Would “Monkey This Up”, which ostensibly seized upon the incident.
“[The comment] has zero to do with race,” DeSantis said on Fox News’s “Hannity.” “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 to left-wing socialist policies which will absolutely devastate our state.” (RELATED: Dem Nominee for Florida Governor Is Progressive Mayor With Corruption Investigation Swirling Around Him)
“I believe people should be judged based on their ability and character regardless of race, but it’s because of that I know that socialism won’t work in Florida,” he continued. “It’s not good for any race, color or creed.”
The Florida congressman, who is a founding member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, has been adamantly opposed to every progressive policy platform that Gillum campaigned on.
“This is not about race, this is about ideas and principles and I’m not going to let the Democrats and Andrew Gillum try to obscure a debate about whether his tax increases, his single payer healthcare plan, his desire to abolish ICE, whether that is something that’s acceptable for Florida. I don’t think it is,” DeSantis said. “I don’t care what color you are.”
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