A Republican candidate for mayor in Florida is facing scrutiny for telling the supporters of his opponent to “go back to Africa” during a debate Tuesday, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

Paul Congemi, a white man who is in the mayoral race for St. Petersburg, fired back at his white campaign opponent Jesse Nevel, who centered his campaign on calling for government reparations for African-Americans.

“The reparations that you talk about, Mr. Nevel, your people already got your reparations. Your reparations came in the form of a man named Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaIntelligence for the days after President Trump leaves office Barack Obama sends Valentine's message to Michelle: 'She does get down to Motown' For 2020, Democrats are lookin’ for somebody to love MORE,” Congemi said.


“My advice to you, if you don’t like it here in America, planes leave every hour from Tampa airport. Go back to Africa. Go back to Africa. Go back!”

Nevel's campaign slogan is “Unity Through Reparations.” He is backed by a group called the Uhuru Solidarity Movement, which pushes for reparations as a way to alleviate racial inequality.

The group also calls for solutions to racially charged issues in society, such as gentrification and police brutality.

Congemi told the Post that he believes his rival is “obviously” a “self-hating white man” for his policies, adding that he has “nothing against African-Americans who are doing their best here in America.”

Congemi added that he had been a lifelong Democrat until former President Obama came out in favor of same-sex marriage, prompting him to switch political parties. He said he is also a supporter of President Trump.

Though he is facing accusations of racism for his comments, Congemi said Wednesday that he will not drop out of the mayoral race.

“I’ll run again in 2019 and, God willing, if I’m alive in 2021, I’ll run then too,” he said. “I intend to keep running and running and running.”