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Gillum consultant: DeSantis 'monkey this up' comment 'blatantly racist'

Gillum consultant: DeSantis 'monkey this up' comment 'blatantly racist'
© Anna Moneymaker

A campaign consultant working for Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D) slammed his GOP gubernatorial rival, Rep. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisNikki Haley says if Trump runs for president in 2024 then she won't Florida newspaper blasts DeSantis's ban on COVID-19 passports: 'Makes no sense' Buttigieg hopes cruises will return by mid-summer MORE (Fla.), on Wednesday for his "blatantly racist" comments about Gillum from an interview earlier in the day.

Gillum consultant Michael Hopkins told MSNBC's Ali Velshi that DeSantis's warning to Florida voters not to "monkey" up the election by voting for Gillum was "blatantly racist."

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“That wasn’t just a dog whistle, that was a bullhorn,” Hopkins said during the interview. “That was a blatantly racist comment. If DeSantis wants to say that he uses that kind of language all the time, then he should just stop talking.”

“What he’s doing is not just denigrating the state, but denigrating the voters who are going out and trying to be good Americans and work hard and don’t want that kind of racist language used in campaigns across the state,” Hopkins added.

DeSantis's comments about Gillum, who could become Florida's first black governor if elected in November, drew strong backlash. 

“The last thing we need to do is monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state,” DeSantis said during the Fox News interview.  

A spokesperson for Gillum's campaign pointed to a statement from Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo, who called the remarks "disgusting."

"It's disgusting that Ron DeSantis is launching his general election campaign with racist dog whistles," Rizzo said.

DeSantis's campaign released a statement following the Fox News appearance, calling accusations of racism "absurd."

“Ron DeSantis was obviously talking about Florida not making the wrong decision to embrace the socialist policies that Andrew Gillum espouses. To characterize it as anything else is absurd.”