Yet again, left-wing media outlets are using an out-of-context quote to claim a Republican is using racist dog whistles.
Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) won his GOP primary for governor Tuesday night. Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, a black progressive, won the Democratic primary. Shortly after the race was called for Gillum, DeSantis was on Fox News discussing the Bernie Sanders-endorsed candidate’s surprise win.
“This is a guy who, although he is much too liberal for Florida, I think he’s got huge problems with how he has governed Tallahassee,” DeSantis said, adding that Gillum is “an articulate spokesman for the far left views and he is a charismatic candidate.”
DeSantis went on to say that he watched the Democrat debates and that Gillum “performed better than the other people there.”
That’s what DeSantis said specifically of Gillum.
Where things go wrong is when DeSantis started talking about progressive policies. Gillum supports the Left’s Medicare-for-all health care solution and the Abolish ICE movement. DeSantis quickly switched from speaking positively about Gillum to the policies he supports.
“So, we have to work hard to make sure we continue Florida going in a good direction. Let’s build off the success we’ve had with Governor Scott,” 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 the state.” (Emphasis added.)
He wasn’t speaking specifically about Gillum, but the policies he and Sen. Bernie Sanders support.
Republicans do need to be careful with language, as even a phrase as common as “monkey it up” can be twisted against them. He should have just said “mess this up.”
When The Hill reported DeSantis’ comments, it included reaction comments from Democrats claiming the comments were racist and “disgusting.” There’s no indication the publication reached out to DeSantis himself or his campaign for an explanation.
The Daily Wire did reach out to the DeSantis campaign, but didn’t immediately hear back.