On Monday morning, President Trump weighed in on the Florida gubernatorial race with a tweet in which he smeared the Democratic candidate, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, as an unintelligent criminal.
“In Florida there is a choice between a Harvard/Yale educated man named @RonDeSantisFL who has been a great Congressman and will be a great Governor – and a Dem who is a thief and who is Mayor of poorly run Tallahassee, said to be one of the most corrupt cities in the Country!” Trump tweeted, alluding to Gillum, who is running to become the first black governor in Florida’s history.
In Florida there is a choice between a Harvard/Yale educated man named @RonDeSantisFL who has been a great Congressman and will be a great Governor – and a Dem who is a thief and who is Mayor of poorly run Tallahassee, said to be one of the most corrupt cities in the Country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 29, 2018
Gillum is an alum of Florida A&M, a highly-rated historically black college and university. Despite what Trump would have you believe, Gillum has never been convicted of a crime.
Racist dogwhistling has been a centerpiece of DeSantis’ campaign against Gillum. During a Fox News interview in late August, DeSantis characterized Gilllum as an “articulate spokesman for the far left views and a charismatic candidate,” before warning that “the last thing we need to do is to monkey this up” by embracing his “socialist agenda.”
After his “monkey up” comment generated a nationwide outcry, DeSantis went back on Fox News and indicated he had no regrets, dismissing the whole thing as “a phony controversy” that was the product of “nonstop political correctness.”
During yet another Fox News interview last week, Fox & Friends‘ Brian Kilmeade pushed another dogwhistle about Gillum, praising him for his “intellect.”
“His intellect is obviously strong after the debate performance,” Kilmeade said.
UPDATE (10/29, 1 p.m.): Gillum responded to Trump:
— Andrew Gillum (@AndrewGillum) October 29, 2018