DeSantis: Gillum wants to turn Florida 'into Venezuela'

DeSantis: Gillum wants to turn Florida 'into Venezuela'
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Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantisDeSantis wants statue of civil rights activist to replace Confederate figure on Capitol Hill Florida couple wins right to plant vegetables in front yard after years-long legal battle Former sheriff running for reelection after suspension over Parkland shooting MORE is going after his Florida Democratic gubernatorial rival Andrew Gillum as the GOP congressman seeks to move on from controversy surrounding a racially-charged remark made last week.

DeSantis told host John Catsimatidis in an interview airing Sunday on AM 970 in New York that Gillum, who is backed by Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders to call on 2020 Democrats to reject money from drug, health insurance industries The hidden connection between immigration and health care: Our long-term care crisis Harris tops Biden in California 2020 poll MORE (I-Vt.) and advocates for more left-leaning proposals such as "Medicare for all" and abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), is an "untraditional" opponent.

"I would say it's very untraditional for Florida, [though] not anything to do with me, I'm a solid conservative in the Reagan tradition and I've been supportive of the president's agenda," DeSantis said.

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"This Andrew Gillum, he's on the far-left socialist fringe," DeSantis continued. "He's a Bernie Sanders, [Alexandria] Ocasio-Cortez type candidate."

"If you have a guy like this enacting a socialist agenda it's going to absolutely destroy all the progress that Florida has made," he added. "He wants to turn Florida in to Venezuela."

DeSantis was not asked during the interview about his recent comments warning voters not to "monkey up" the election by voting for Gillum, who would be Florida's first black governor if elected.

The Florida lawmaker sought to clarify his remarks, which had sparked outrage from Democrats and some Republicans and accusations of racism from Democrats in the state.

Gillum told DeSantis to apologize to Floridians for his language, which he linked to President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump primary challenger Bill Weld responds to rally chants: 'We are in a fight for the soul of the GOP' Cruz calls for 'every penny' of El Chapo's criminal enterprise to be used for Trump's wall after sentencing Cardi B posts message of support for Ilhan Omar MORE.

"He doesn’t need to apologize to me, he needs to apologize to Florida voters," Gillum said on MSNBC. "If he thinks that those kinds of shenanigans are going to be persuasive enough in this midterm election to turn this their way, I think he’s badly mistaken."

"I think DeSantis has decided to pull a page from the Trump campaign playbook and I think it’s unfortunate," Gillum added.