comScore

Andrew Gillum Tells Chuck Todd He Isn’t Calling DeSantis Racist: ‘Cannot Afford to Weaponize Race’

Florida gubernatorial candidate Mayor Andrew Gillum, the Democrat facing Rep. Ron DeSantis in November, appeared on Meet the Press this morning and talked, among other things, once again about race in the race.

DeSantis, on the day after the primary elections, said on Fox News that “the last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda,” referring to the idea of electing Gillum as governor.

DeSantis has made several appearances since claiming there was no racial element to the comment. Gillum, too, has made a number of media appearances where the topic came up, and on the same day that DeSantis made the comment, said in an interview also on Fox News that “in the handbook of Donald Trump, they no longer do whistle calls. They are now using full bullhorns.”

Today on Meet the Press, Chuck Todd asked Gillum about it first thing in the interview.

“You had that back and forth with your opponent. A neo-nazi group launched some really ugly robocalls. I don’t want to give the name of the group or anything. Because I think just trying to get free publicity here,” begins Todd in the above clip. “Are you satisfied with how quikly Republicans shot down that neo-nazi call? Does that reassure you that they don’t want to make race an issue in this campaign?”

“Well, I mean, I think what’s important is that Mr. DeSantis and obviously the president really try to go high on this thing,’ said Gillum. “We cannot afford to weaponize race and to go to the bottom of the barrel here.”

“I’m pleased to see them decry those robocalls, but it’s also important that Ron DeSantis take control of his own rhetoric and words,” he continued, “because we already know given the highly sensitized nation we now find ourselves in that people take their cues and sometimes act out and in ways that go far beyond what is appropriate in today’s environment.

Todd then asked him if he thinks Ron DeSantis is a racist.

“I have not called him a racist,” he replied. “What I’ve simply said is that his rhetoric has to be toned down.”

“I’m happy to debate him on the merits of public policy. I am not going to get into the gutter and name call,” said Gillum.

[Featured image via screengrab]

Follow Caleb Howe (@CalebHowe) on Twitter

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under: