A video clip that Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum posted on Twitter has gone viral with more than 3 million views. In just 40 seconds of Wednesday night’s debate, Gillum, who is the mayor of Tallahassee, explains why racists believe Republican former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis is a racist.
In a rebuttal to comments made by DeSantis in their second and final debate before Election Day on Nov. 6, he said:
“Let me first say, my grandmother used to say that a hit dog will holler and it hollered through this room. Mr. DeSantis has spoken; first of all, he’s got neo-Nazis helping him in this state. He has spoken at racist conferences.
“He accepted a contribution, and would not return it, from someone who referred to the former president of the United States as a Muslim n-i-g-g-e-r. When asked to return that money, he said, ‘No.’ He’s using that money to now fund negative ads.
“Now, I’m not calling Mr. DeSantis a racist. I’m simply saying the racists believe he’s a racist.”
Gillum’s remarks came after moderator Todd McDermott attempted to question DeSantis, who is endorsed by President Donald Trump, about his appearances at David Horowitz Freedom Center conferences. He has spoken at least four times at conferences led by Horowitz, who The Southern Poverty Law Center calls “a driving force of the anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and anti-Black movements.”
“How the hell am I supposed to know every single statement somebody makes” DeSantis asked McDermott.
“Let me just say this straight up. I’ve lived my life whether it’s athletics [or] military serving as a prosecutor. When I was down-range in Iraq we worked as a team regardless of race. But I am not going to bow down to the altar of political correctness. I am not going to let the media smear me as they’ve done with so many people.”
Gillum referred to the company DeSantis keeps. Corey Breier, an employee and “dear friend” of DeSantis has become the latest Florida Republican to be identified as part of the Proud Boys’ rally, according to ThinkProgress. The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that the “rank-and-file Proud Boys and leaders regularly spout white nationalist memes and maintain affiliations with known extremists.”
Gillum has now been targeted a second time by racist robocalls to Florida voters. The latest robocall on Tuesday has a voice that impersonates him in an exaggerated accent, and refers to the Gillum as a “negro” and a “monkey.”
In August, a white supremacist group ran robocalls impersonating the Gillum, after DeSantis said on Fox News: “The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda.”