Yesterday, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum came with his game face on, and took on Republican nominee Ron DeSantis for using racist tactics in the campaign.
“The monkey up comment said it all, and he has only continued in the course of his campaign to draw all the attention he can to the color of my skin,” Gillum said.
He "let us know exactly where he was going to take this race the day after he won the nomination, the 'monkey up' comment said it all."— The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN) October 22, 2018
Andrew Gillum attacks his opponent, Ron DeSantis, for his "monkey" comment, saying he's drawn attention to the "color of my skin." #FLGovDebate pic.twitter.com/JwUvGJx6gA
Back in August, DeSantis said, “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 this state. That is not going to work. It’s not going to be good for Florida”.
While DeSantis claimed the “monkey it up” phrase is a widely used one, no one ever seemed to have heard it used before.
To many, the comment was a racist one.
The two faced off in their first debate, which was hosted by CNN.
Gillum, who is Tallahassee’s Mayor and is seeking to become Florida’s first African-American Governor, added, “And the truth is, you know what? I’m black. I’ve been black I’ll my life and as far as I know, I’ll die black.”
DeSantis countered by saying he had to work with people of all colors while in the Navy.
“When we’re down range in Iraq, it didn’t matter your race. We all wore the same uniform, we all had that American flag patch on our arm and that was end of story,” he said. “I’ll be a governor for all Floridians.”
DeSantis, a former congressman from Ponte Vedra Beach, looked insecure and agitated throughout the debate, which ABC News noted. He routinely interrupted Gillum and dodged a question posed by debate moderator Jake Taper of CNN as to whether he believed President Donald Trump is a good role model.
DeSantis completely switched gears and accused Gillum of not fully supporting Israel.
After pointing out that DeSantis didn’t answer the question asked of him, Gillum accused DeSantis of being a Trump “acolyte” and wannabe “apprentice”.
Gillum also called Trump “weak”.
“Donald Trump is weak, and he performs as all weak people do. They become bullies, and Mr. DeSantis is his acolyte. He’s trying out to be the Trump apprentice. At every turn he’s tweeting him.”
Gillum also said he was capable of putting his feelings on Trump aside and work with the President to ensure Floridians got what they needed from the White House.
Early voting is now underway in Florida. The election is November 6th.
Recent polls have shown Gillum holding on to a small lead in the race.