- GOP Rep. Ron DeSantis spoke about his rival in Florida’s governor’s race, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, to Fox News on Wednesday morning.
- Gillum could become Florida’s first black governor if he wins the election in November.
- While speaking to Fox News about Gillum, DeSantis warned that a far-left agenda could “monkey” up Florida’s politics.
- He also used the words “articulate” and “charismatic” to describe the left-wing Democrat.
GOP Rep. Ron DeSantis called his black rival in Florida’s governor’s race, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, an “articulate spokesman” and warned that the state may “monkey up” its politics by electing a “socialist agenda” into office.
In an interview with Fox News’s Sandra Smith on Wednesday, DeSantis, who has been endorsed by President Donald Trump, spoke about Gillum in a segment following his Republican primary win.
While speaking to Fox News about Gillum, DeSantis warned that a far-left agenda could “monkey” up Florida’s politics.
Wow. Rep. Ron DeSantis on Fox News speaking about his black Democratic opponent in the Florida gubernatorial race, Andrew Gillum: "The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up." pic.twitter.com/S8YoNCaQAw
— Travis (@travislylesnews) August 29, 2018
He said: “The last thing we need to do is monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state.
“That is not going to work. That’s not going to be good for Florida, so I’m going to fight for what I believe in because I think I’m the guy who can lead Florida in a good direction.”
He also used the words “articulate” and “charismatic” to describe the left-wing Democrat.
DeSantis said: “Florida elections are always competitive and this is a guy who, although he’s much too liberal for Florida, I think he’s got huge problems on how he’s governed Tallahassee. He is an articulate spokesman for those far-left views and he’s a charismatic candidate.”
If Gillum wins the gubernatorial election in November, he would become Florida’s first black governor.
DeSantis’s campaign manager, Steven Lawson later clarified the GOP candidate’s remarks in a statement.
He said: “Ron DeSantis was obviously talking about Florida not making the wrong decision to embrace the socialist policies that Andrew Gillum espouses. To characterise it as anything else is absurd.
“Florida’s economy has been on the move for the last eight years and the last thing we need is a far-left democrat trying to stop our success.”
In a later segment of her show, Fox News’ Sandra Smith condemned DeSantis’s choice of words.
“A little while ago, we had Ron DeSantis, the Republican nominee for governor in Florida on for an interview to discuss the Florida election,” she said on America’s Newsroom. “During the interview, he made what some are calling an inappropriate comment about his democratic opponent, Andrew Gillum.”
Smith added: “We do not condone this language and wanted to make our viewers aware that he has since clarified his statement. Also, Mayor Gillum will be on with Shepard Smith today at 3PM.”
On Tuesday, Gillum beat out five other Democrats in the primary. The field included US Rep. Gwen Graham, who was hoping to become the state’s first female governor, according to the Associated Press.
Gillum was backed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and won the hearts of progressives across the state with a grassroots campaign that stayed away from big donations and TV ads.
He and DeSantis are competing for the office held by Gov. Rick Scott, who cannot be re-elected due to term limits.
Scott is instead challenging Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson for his seat in the Senate.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.