We’re less than 24 hours out from President Donald Trump-endorsed candidate Ron DeSantis’ victory in Florida’s Republican gubernatorial primary race, and already DeSantis has managed to stick his foot firmly in mouth and wiggle his toes around for good measure. And where did he choose to do this? Fox News, of course.
Speaking with America’s Newsroom host Sandra Smith, DeSantis, who recently starred in a campaign ad in which he taught his toddler daughter to help build Trump’s anti-immigrant wall—snuck in not one, but two racist remarks about his Democratic opponent, progressive Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum, who is black, over the course of just a few scant minutes of airtime.
Asked how he plans to beat Gillum in November, DeSantis answered (emphasis mine):
This is a guy who—although he’s much too liberal for Florida, I think he’s got huge problems with how he’s governed Tallahassee—he is an articulate spokesman for those far left views. He’s a charismatic candidate. I watched those Democrat (sic) debates and none of that was my cup of tea, but he performed better than the other people there.
Okay, so maybe, for the sake of argument, let’s assume DeSantis is unaware of the not-so-subtle racial subtext of complementing a black man in America for being “articulate” (Ron, if you’re reading, I recommend this essay from our sister site The Root as a good starting point). But DeSantis just kept talking, and eventually completely showed his ass:
We’ve gotta 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.
Word to the wise, Ron? Using the words “monkey this up” in reference to your black opponent is probably a bad idea. Unless you’re explicitly courting that coveted Klan vote, in which case, you’re doing aces pal.
Making matters worse is that Gillum would become Florida’s first black governor in history. Speaking at a campaign rally last week, Gillum addressed the same question that had been posed to DeSantis: How do you plan to win? Here, for the record, was his answer:
It’s my opinion that the way we are going to win is by nominating a candidate who has the ability to move more of our voters to the polls, more black voters, more brown voters, more young voters, more purple voters, more white voters, more working class voters.
We’ve reached out to DeSantis’ office for comment on this morning’s remarks, and will update this story if they respond.