South Florida pastors denounce DeSantis for his 'monkey this up' remark

President Donald Trump listens as Florida GOP gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis speaks at a Make America Great Again Rally.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum upset a crowded field of well-funded candidates in Florida's Democratic gubernatorial primary Tuesday, a step away from becoming the state's first black governor. But he acknowledged in a recent interview that it would be "big" to be Florida's first black governor.

DeSantis said he is more concerned with Gillum's plan to greatly hike business taxes in the state, adding that such a move would reverse progress made under Gov. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and President Donald Trump. Gillum, a far-left Democrat seeking to become the state's first black governor, and DeSantis, a Trump-endorsed Republican, are political opposites, both seeking to gin up turnout among the party's most ardent supporters.

Only hours after their primary election victories, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis made clear the high-profile race in the nation's largest political battleground state was going to be nasty and racially charged. "To characterize it as anything else is absurd", his spokesman Stephen Lawson said.

"DeSantis needs to immediately apologize and/or drop out of the race". It is uncertain whether this comment by DeSantis will harm his chances of winning.

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As the comment ricocheted across social media- with members of Congress along with the organization CAIR and even Fox News denouncing them - the chairwoman of Florida's Democratic Party, Terrie Rizzo, was among those decrying it as racist. "Also, @ me next time, @realDonaldTrump". "But I think he's got another thing coming to him if he thinks that, in today's day of age, Florida voters are going to respond to that level of derision and division".

Asked by MSNBC host Hallie Jackson if he considers DeSantis to be a racist, Gillum said, "I don't want to jump to name-calling at this stage of the race". And Republicans also argue that Gillum is simply too liberal, with his advocacy for universal health care and scrapping the current iteration of the ICE immigration enforcement agency.

He has claimed Gillum, who was an early backer and later a delegate of Hillary Clinton in 2016, will lead Florida down a path toward socialism.

Gillum didn't make race an issue in the primary.

  • Sonia Alvarado