Florida Republican Tells Voters Not to “Monkey This Up” by Voting for African American Opponent

Ron DeSantis’ campaign insists the remark “had nothing to do with race.”

Last night, Republican Ron DeSantis won the Florida gubernatorial primary. Though endorsed by President Donald Trump, the three-term congressman wasn’t the choice of many of the party’s strategists and officials, who worried he might be too extreme for one of the most infamous swing states in the country.

It didn’t take long for DeSantis to possibly prove those doubters right

During an appearance on Fox News Wednesday, DeSantis urged Florida voters not “to monkey this up” by voting for his “articulate” general election opponent, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum.

“He is an articulate spokesman for those far-left views, and he’s a charismatic candidate,” DeSantis said. “I watched those Democrat debates, and none of that is my cup of tea, but, I mean, he performed better than the other people there, so we’ve got to work hard to make sure that we continue Florida going in a good direction. Let’s build off the success we’ve had on Governor Scott. 

“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. That’s not going to work. That’s not going to be good for Florida.”

Gillum—who surged to an upset victory Tuesday with a liberal campaign that energized the Florida Democratic Party—would be the state’s first African American governor if he defeats DeSantis in November. 

“It’s disgusting that Ron DeSantis is launching his general election campaign with racist dog whistles,” the head of the Florida Democratic Party said on Twitter.

Speaking to the Sun-Sentinel, Rep. Fredicra Wilson (D-Fla.) summed up the reaction of many: “They always find a way to add some sort of insult to African Americans and make it racist. Monkeying this up is clearly communicating that. Someone else might see it a different way. As an African American woman, that’s the way I see it.”

A DeSantis spokesperson told NBC News that the “monkey” remark “had nothing to do with race or anything like that.”

Watch and decide for yourself:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruaQzXNSHLQ

THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

payment methods

THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate