Florida Dems attack GOP campaign as ‘racist’ after Republican labels Gillum 'Kill'em' on crime

Florida Dems attack GOP campaign as ‘racist’ after Republican labels Gillum 'Kill'em' on crime
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Florida Democrats are again attacking the GOP campaign against gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum (D) as racist after Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzGaetz: Trump 'should pardon everyone' including himself to quash liberal 'bloodlust' Florida passes 850k coronavirus cases Florida GOP Rep. Mike Waltz tests positive for COVID-19 MORE (R-Fla.) nicknamed Gillum "Kill 'em" regarding his record on crime.

Gaetz made the comment as he stumped for Gillum's opponent, Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump, Biden clash over transition holdup, pandemic plans Group of Florida mayors calls on DeSantis to issue mask mandate DeSantis promises to keep Florida open despite recent coronavirus case surge MORE (R), in Florida over the weekend. 


"Tallahassee is like the murder capital of Florida," Gaetz said in Cape Coral. "I don’t know whether to call him Andrew Gillum or Andrew 'Kill 'em.' "

Gillum's running mate Chris King in a statement to The Hill said Gaetz's name-calling was "riddled with bigotry and inaccuracies." 

"We condemn the divisive and dangerous rhetoric used at the Ron DeSantis rally by his chief congressional ally," King said. "We call on Mr. DeSantis to immediately condemn these statements riddled with bigotry and inaccuracies." 

"Furthermore, he must demand his campaign and supporters to tone it down for everyone's safety," King added. "Our election should and must be about real people facing real issues, and not hyperbolic propaganda used to fearmonger and gin up their base."

DeSantis's campaign has come under fire for using allegedly racial rhetoric multiple times. If elected, Gillum would be the first black governor of Florida.

DeSantis over the summer warned Florida voters not to "monkey this up" by voting for Gillum, which many Democrats called a racial dog-whistle.  

His campaign in statements said the comment was not intended to refer to Gillum's race.

But Florida Democrats over the weekend said Gaetz's comment was similarly intended to stoke racial fears.

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman (D) in a statement called the name "another instance of unacceptable language being weaponized by the DeSantis campaign's top surrogates." 

Florida House Democratic Leader Janet Cruz also called on DeSantis to denounce the attack, calling it an "abomination" that has "no place in our politics." 

DeSantis's campaign did not immediately respond to The Hill's requests for comment.