A familiar theme ran through the crowd at Wednesday night’s political rally in Fort Myers attended by President Donald Trump, along with Gov. Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis.
“Lock him up!”
The chant was referring to Democrat Andrew Gillum, DeSantis’ opponent in the gubernatorial contest who has called for Trump’s impeachment. DeSantis has raised questions about Gillum’s role in an FBI investigation into possible public corruption within Tallahassee city government.
“Andrew Gillum can’t work — he’s running on impeaching the president,” DeSantis told the crowd. “You know, I don’t know why he’s thinking about impeachment. This is a guy who took bribes from an undercover FBI agent, took money from a lobbyist, did favors for the lobbyist. Maybe we should impeach Andrew Gillum as mayor of Tallahassee!”
Gillum was a common target at Wednesday night’s rally.
“Andrew Gillum wants to throw open your borders to drug dealers, human traffickers, gang members and criminal aliens,” Trump insisted. “And Gillum supports deadly sanctuary cities. He wants to abolish ICE.”
Appearing Thursday morning on CNN, Gillum accused the president of using Halloween to try and trick Florida voters.
“Mr. DeSantis and the President have no relationship with the truth,” Gillum said. “I believe in borders. I believe in the law. What the president has turned our immigration enforcement agency into is a family separation force.”
In an interview on Fox News earlier in the week, Trump called Gillum a “stone cold thief” and pointed out that DeSantis attended Yale and Harvard. Gillum is a graduate of Florida A&M University. Gillum was asked if the president’s remarks drawing attention to DeSantis’ Ivy League education were racial.
“I’ll have to take the same tact with the President as I did with Mr. DeSantis,” Gillum said. “I have not called the president a racist, but there are racists in his sympathizers who believe he may be, which is why they go to his aid, which is why he provides them with cover and I believe his cover has led to much of the degradation in our political discourse.”
Gillum was asked about new revelations this week that he used a mayor’s office spending account to travel to Tampa on a business trip during which he allegedly met with elected officials there about running for governor.
“Let me first say office fund’s are not taxpayer dollars,” Gillum responded. “Office funds is when you have a campaign and you have leftover dollars. You put it into an office account that you can use to aid you however you choose in the execution of your duties.”
Gillum admits he met with elected officials in Tampa during that trip, but he insists the trip did not include any discussion about politics.
“I was in Tampa and I met with them and had conversations about the future of our state and community,” Gillum said. “I was not a declared candidate for any office.”
Gillum has insisted he has been told by the FBI that he is not the target of the agency’s probe into Tallahassee City Hall. He insists he has done nothing in his years of public service that should cause alarm to Florida voters.
“I’ve been an elected official for 15 years and I have been elected by repeatedly doing right and not by doing wrong,” insisted Gillum. “The people in my community know me and they trust me.”