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DeSantis 'Monkey' Comment Draws Controversy

August 30, 2018 - 6:00am
Ron DeSantis
Ron DeSantis

U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis used frequent appearances on Fox News during the primary-election campaign to deliver his conservative message to voters, helping him secure the Republican nomination for governor.

But on the first day of the general-election campaign, DeSantis on Wednesday became embroiled in a controversy as the result of a Fox News interview, with Democrats charging him with racism.

After accusing his Democratic opponent, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, of being “too liberal” for the state and questioning his leadership as mayor, DeSantis said Gillum, an African-American, was “an articulate spokesman for those far-left views” and is a “charismatic candidate.”

DeSantis said Gillum’s policies, which include support for an increase in the state tax on corporations and an expansion of government health-care programs, would reverse economic gains made under Republican Gov. Rick Scott.

“Let’s build off the success we’ve had under Gov. 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,” DeSantis told Fox. “That’s not going to work.”

But DeSantis’ use of the word “monkey” in relation to the first African-American candidate ever nominated by a major party for governor in Florida drew a firestorm of criticism from Democrats.

“That was more than a dog whistle. That was absolutely a racist, disgusting statement,” U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla., said in a phone conference with reporters. “I don’t think there’s any other way to interpret it.”

But DeSantis’ campaign said Democrats were mischaracterizing his comments.

“Ron DeSantis was obviously talking about Florida not making the wrong decision to embrace the socialist policies that Andrew Gillum espouses. To characterize it as anything else is absurd,” said Stephen Lawson, a spokesman for the campaign.

“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,” he said.

A Fox News anchor said the network did not “condone this language,” while pointing viewers to the clarifying statement from the DeSantis campaign.

But the controversy is a sign that race may be in issue in the campaign for governor in the nation’s third-largest state, which like the rest of the country is becoming more demographically diverse. It is also a sign of what is likely to be a hard-fought, negative campaign between the two candidates.

In an interview Wednesday morning with CNN, Gillum accused DeSantis and President Donald Trump, whose support was a critical factor in DeSantis’ success, of "both scraping from the bottom of the barrel."

"I actually believe that Florida and its rich diversity are going to be looking for a governor who’s going to bring us together, not misogynist, not racist, not bigoted,” Gillum said. “They’re going to be looking for a governor who’s going to appeal to our higher aspirations as a state, who’s going to talk about what it means to build a Florida that makes room for all of us and not just some of us.”

Both Trump and DeSantis have likened Gillum’s policy positions to “socialism.”

“I’m trying to make Florida even better. He wants to make Florida a Venezuela,” DeSantis said Tuesday night after trouncing Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam in the GOP gubernatorial primary.

DeSantis also said Gillum, who has the support of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and billionaire George Soros, a major donor to liberal candidates, is out of step with mainstream Florida voters.

“There is a difference in getting some of the Bernie Sanders people to vote for you in a primary and then going to the broader Florida electorate and trying to sell that message,” DeSantis said. “I don’t think that’s going to sell. I don’t think that dog will hunt in Florida.”


All this racism by association from the democrats means that no-one can go to the zoo anymore for fear of being seen walking by the (unameable animal) exibit anymore because of the shrill screams of “racist!” from the democratic race baiters.

So it is racist for a republican to use a word as a verb but when a democrat uses the same word as a noun it is ok? Jan. 31, 2018 city commission meeting video by channel 13 news, Mr. Gollum used the same word.

I have said this all my life ( 58 years) and not once have I thought of a black person. Mike B posted this earlier and I agree with him.......... "Monkey this up" is a common expression meaning "screw this up." It has NOTHING to do with race. Only Democrats, who usually judge people not by the content of their character but by the color of their skin, would think this is a racist comment. When Republicans hear the word "monkey," they think of a monkey. When Democrats hear the word "monkey," they think of a black person. It's disgraceful. And that's the truth. Don't throw a monkey wrench into it. HE NAILED IT. Oh Shoot. I just offended a democrat somehow .

So, when Obama used the same phrase (Monkey around with) when he was running for president I guess its ok. I am confused though. Was it the racist white side or the black side of him that said it ?

Frank Zero, Please move to a socialist country you could love, Venezuela. There is nothing left there for you to MONKEY UP.

Gillum voters looking to start a racist election they know dam well desantis and rick scotts state meant nothing against the african american gillium. Its just democrats and republicans race for the governors job

Gillum voters looking to start a racist election they know dam well desantis and rick scotts state meant nothing against the african american gillium. Its just democrats and republicans race for the governors job

Anyone with 4th grade reading skills could see that "monkey up" referred to the successful programs Governor Scott has put in place and in NO WAY referred to Gillum. It seems to me that the real racists here are democrats. Why do they associate black people with every statements that is made about monkeys, chimps, apes, etc.? This is just a very nasty piece of thinking on their part.

try as you may Trumpsters you can't justify the unrepeatable characterization Uttered by De Santis. Yale and Harvard.?.He knew what he was doing and Saying..not really a DOG whistle ..more like a bull horn.. DeSantis and all of you who try to justify his RACIST..YES RACIST opening salvo will eat those words come election day.. Florida is Better than that and Floridians will prove it at the polls..

Gillum will lose on one issue: taxes.

Does racism still exist in this country? Unfortunately, yes. Was the comment by DeSantis racist? NO! The left (started under Obama) has cried wolf so many times when an actual example of racism occurs, all they will get is a collective yawn from the masses.

Racism comes in 3 basic forms: the first being Active Racism. That is the person taking some action based upon a facet of a person...usually skin color or ethnicity. Your stereotypical KKK or '60s era Black Panther type. The second is Inactive Racism. That would be an inadvertent action of an individual resulting from ignorance of cultural or societal norms. This is best identified as the "Ugly American Tourist." This phrase can also be applied to the individual that is out of their normal social surroundings and commit something more than a social mistake relative to race or ethnicity. The third form of racism is Reactionary Racism. That is when people call out others as racist for language or actions that is not normally associated with racism....until that moment. Historically, the words or phrase was a part of the language. Such as the phrase: "Don't Monkey Around." Monkey has now transitioned to a racist word. depending upon to whom you speak and in what context THEY heard it. Even the temperature of the room where Cuomo and Nixon debated was called sexist by Nixon because it was too cold for her.

Gillum will get his 98% of the black vote but alas, that will be well below enough to win. Playing the worn out race card doesn't get you very much these days. President Trump has dramatically increased the quality of life for blacks in this country while Gillum and his new communist pal, Soros, excel at robbing blacks of their dignity and keeping them on the democratic welfare plantation. Gillum is a Soros puppet and will fade into obscurity after the election. I predict Gillum will be arrested on drug charges within a year of his defeat.

Who is surprised that a hand picked puppet of Trump would speak like Trump?

Hard to believe a young guy with a B.A. in History from Yale in 2001 and a J.D. from Harvard in 2005 could/would become a Trump ***wipe. Seems to me that he's just totally B.S.'ing all his wingnut Trump crapola (and appearing on Fox News 121 times before this week's election to do it) just to use Trump's uneducated, low-information white "base" to get himself elected. (???) I think he could be a total phony. (???)

Did you read the entire statement? Desantis heaped praise at Gillum for his political abilities and style, while taking exception to the policies he espouses. What the heck is wrong with that? Maybe, just maybe we can focus in on policies and avoid the accusations of racism. For Lois Frankel to suggest that she knows what is in the heart and soul of another human being is simply wrong. If Gillum believes that desantis has evil and hatred in his heart for members of the black community, well then say it - but please be prepared to back it up with facts and proof. And using a term that in no way conjures uo racism (at least to me) is not proof. Show me a life filled with hate speech directed at any segment of our community and I’ll go along with your assertions. Until such a time, please, let’s move on to public policy matters that will effect all Floridians lives and where these two men stand on this policies.

To be left of the Republicans is to be a socialist? Look this country was founded by individuals who did not agree on everything, but they did have a common goal. A better idea than what they had. No administration is going to address the needs of everyone it just isn't possible. Some administrations will cater to the wealthy and some will cater to those in need. We have had a lot of years here in Florida were the wealthy have prospered. However, our schools suffer, our teacher are amongst the lowest paid in the country, our infrastructure is crumbling and our crime rate is up. It may be time to go a different way. If we don't balance out the objectives of both sides we as a State and a Country will never move forward. As for "Monkeygate", we all know what he meant. His comments were about in his opinion not "screwing things up" unfortunately he didn't use those words. He used words that were more deragatory in nature. He is a seasoned politician so we know he didn't use them by mistake. The 2018 elections will be a test of extremes and a litmus test for were our country really is. Have we turned the corner when it comes to racism? Is the left over reacting? Or have people just become better at hiding who they truly are? I don't think we have turned a corner. Mr DeSantis comment and choice of words says a lot about who he is. It shouldn't matter what party you support (it doesn't matter to me, I have voted for Dems and Repubs, whomever I felt at the time would best represent my interest and beliefs) the character of the individual is what makes the choice for me. Staying focused on the issues and looking out for those who have the least plays a significant role in my decision making process. I don't believe Mr DeSantis will do that. Floridians should be sure!

"Monkey this up" is a common expression meaning "screw this up." It has NOTHING to do with race. Only Democrats, who usually judge people not by the content of their character but by the color of their skin, would think this is a racist comment. When Republicans hear the word "monkey," they think of a monkey. When Democrats hear the word "monkey," they think of a black person. It's disgraceful. And that's the truth. Don't throw a monkey wrench into it.

You are "Spot On" Mike. Oh Cr_p! I probably just offended somebody.

"Monkey this up" and "monkeying around" are two different things. Plenty of fifth generation Floridians like DeSantis are racists ... and Trump and his "white nationalism" and anti-Obama and anti-immigrant screeds promote it. It's the last gasp of the low-information, non-college-educated, white Republican "base".

Agree with you Mike - as a former military person. DeSantis should know better. But he doesn't. And that's the problem.

Interesting twist if it were true. Only he didn't say "don't throw a monkey wrench into it." If there is substantial evidence that DeSantis routinely says don't "monkey this up," to or about white people (aka without what could be viewed as an apparent reference to a black person), show the evidence. Since it is a relatively rare to hear "monkey this up," who can blame the populous for thinking the protege of our race baiting president was following his lead?

Nobody flinched when obuma said the same thing while campaigning back in 2008.

Specific details proving your assertion? - a link to a real website would be sufficient.

Liberals are at it again. If you are a Republican you're a racist. It is bull crap, Racism is a requirement of the Democrat Party. Immediately drawing out the Race Card is clearly Racist. Racism doesn't abide in the GOP, this nation was practically free from racism until Obama hit the Fan. Now, Gillum is fanning the flames of Racism, just like Obama did. . That flag ain't flying over Florida.

Haven't you people EVER heard of a "monkey wrench"?!?...(An ADJUSTABLE wrench to 'fit' multiple "objectives" that OFTEN "strips and destroys fittings" by use of force, and lack of experience... ) The common explanation (IN THIS CASE) is that quite probably Gillum is "not ready for 'prime time' on the BIG STAGE"...(AND YOU Progressive socialist Democrats have proven THAT in barely surviving municipalities, cities and States over and over again throughout history...BECAUSE you can't resist "monkeying" with a successful "status quo"...!

“you People” is raaaasit too. That term was used in boot camp forever. I brought it into civilian life and certain employees lost they’re cottin pickin minds. When your mind is childlike, everything causes boo boos.

Racist ! It’s all they got. That reply may be racist. Everything is since the soetoro years.

Wow not even 24 hours and Desantis gets into racial code talking. Talk about the swamp...………... But what do you expect for someone who follows the known racist, dog whistler, Trump...………..Now Trump, Gullium have got so many more dems to vote and repubs show just how fiscally and morally bankrupt they are, are in big trouble...……..Trump's name is already mud to most and by November his actions along with DeSantis', will be even worse...…...The young, women, minority along with decent white people are sick and tired of repub thieving, corporate welfare while hurting many the worse who have least...………..You think God doesn't know what you are doing?......Everyone else? …………...You no longer have such rigged districts and with the immoral sludge at the top November is going to be interesting...……...Your lies are being called and no longer fooling anyone but a few who want to be and those who take advantage of them, Trump Chumps...………. What's Trump up to now, 4400 major lies? And you are so proud of that! Sad what the repub party has become.

This is a non-issue that won't get Gillum one single extra vote. But when you mark your ballot in November, draw exclamation points next to each filled-in oval. Maybe they'll see deeply you feel it and count your vote a couple of extra times!


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