Rep. Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantisGOP tentatively decides on Jacksonville for site of convention DeSantis pushing to host Republican National Convention in Florida Florida bars and theaters to reopen starting Friday, DeSantis says MORE (R-Fla.) brushed off the controversy following his comments warning Florida voters not to “monkey this up” by voting for his African-American Democratic gubernatorial opponent Andrew Gillum.
DeSantis received sharp blowback from critics who called the remarks racist. He has previously defended his comments.
Fox News host Neil Cavuto asked DeSantis on Friday if he regrets using that phrase.
“Neil, it’s a phony controversy,” DeSantis said. “It is being drummed up to try and distract from the clear issues that we have that are front and center facing Floridians.”
Cavuto doubled down and asked DeSantis again if he wished he had used another word.
“We cannot go down the road of nonstop political correctness and people are going to demagogue what you say and that’s just unfortunately where we’re at in this country,” DeSantis said. “The voters, though, they know this was a nothing burger.”
DeSantis said his supporters will not be “derailed by these fake controversies.”
Asked on Fox News if he has any regrets about saying his black opponent might “monkey up” Florida, @RepDeSantis says he does not, and adds: “We cannot go down the road of nonstop political correctness.” pic.twitter.com/WAM0g8w1FR
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 8, 2018
A campaign consultant working for Gillum, the current mayor of Tallahassee, slammed DeSantis’s “blatantly racist” comments.
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“That wasn’t just a dog whistle, that was a bullhorn,” Michael Hopkins said. “That was a blatantly racist comment. If DeSantis wants to say that he uses that kind of language all the time, then he should just stop talking.”
“What he’s doing is not just denigrating the state, but denigrating the voters who are going out and trying to be good Americans and work hard and don’t want that kind of racist language used in campaigns across the state,” Hopkins added.
If elected, Gillum would become the first black governor of Florida.
He said DeSantis should apologize to the voters, not him.
A poll released on Tuesday showed that Gillum was leading DeSantis by 3 points.