Ron DeSantis continues to defend his choice of words he used in an interview on Fox News that critics described as “racist dog whistles.” DeSantis, the Republican nominee for governor, went back on Fox Wednesday night to explain on Sean Hannity’s show what he meant when he used the phrase “monkey this up” when talking about Andrew Gillum, the Democratic nominee.
“It has zero to do with race, Sean,” DeSantis told Hannity Wednesday evening. “It has everything to do with whether we want Florida to continue to go in a good direction, building off the success or do we want to turn to left-wing, socialist policies, which will absolutely devastate our state?”
Meanwhile, one of DeSantis’ South Florida Republican colleagues in Congress believes the GOP gubernatorial candidate should apologize for his choice of words.
U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo says he doesn’t consider DeSantis’ comments as being racist and he’s never heard DeSantis make any racist comment in Congress.
“I know Ron. I don’t know him to be a racist” Curbelo said Thursday morning. “I’ve never heard him say anything disparaging about any ethnic group or any person for that matter.”
But speaking on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Curbelo said an apology might be in order.
“That was just a stupid comment to make, one that was offensive to a lot of people,” Curbelo said. “I know Ron has clarified that it was no way intended to be racist but I think he should apologize.”
DeSantis defends his choice of words, but the campaign has stopped short of offering an apology.
“And here’s the thing, I believe people should be judged based on their ability and character regardless of race,” DeSantis went on to explain. “But it’s because of that that I know that socialism won’t work in Florida. It’s not good for any race, color or creed. So this is not about race.”
“This is about ideas and principles,” DeSantis added. “And I’m not going to let the Democrats and Andrew Gillum try to obscure a debate about whether his tax increases, his single-payer healthcare plan, his desire to abolish ICE — whether that is something that is acceptable for Florida. I don’t think it is and I don’t care what color you are.”