Trump calls Gillum a 'thief'

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMarine unit in Florida reportedly pushing to hold annual ball at Trump property Giuliani clashes with CNN's Cuomo, calls him a 'sellout' and the 'enemy' Giuliani says 'of course' he asked Ukraine to look into Biden seconds after denying it MORE on Monday called Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum (D) a "thief" as he trumpeted support for Republican Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantisTrump parts ways with key Florida adviser: report Death and destruction: A timeline of Hurricane Dorian How to take politics beyond charges of racism MORE (R).

"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!"

Gillum, who is black, has not been convicted of any crime, though the FBI is investigating suspected corruption in his administration. He has come under scrutiny after records showed he accepted a ticket to the musical "Hamilton" from an undercover FBI agent who he believed was a local developer.

ADVERTISEMENT

Race has played a prominent role in the Florida gubernatorial race that has grown more heated in the final stretch leading up to Election Day.

DeSantis sparked controversy just a day after he and Gillum won their respective primaries when he urged voters not to "monkey this up" by voting for Gillum, who would be the state's first African-American governor, and his policies in the November election.

Critics suggested the remarks had racial undertones or were outright racist, but DeSantis denied that was the case.

Gillum has also been the subject of two racist robocalls which feature a minstrel-style voice. The second robocall, which came out last week, refers to Gillum as a "negro." DeSantis's campaign was not affiliated with either call and has condemned both attacks.

The Florida governor's race has emerged as one of the most closely watched races of this campaign cycle.

RealClearPolitics average of polls in the race shows Gillum leading DeSantis by 3.2 percentage points. 

Trump has fiercely backed DeSantis and is scheduled to return to Florida on Wednesday to hold another rally for the candidate.

Gillum has earned support from Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices | Trump says it's 'great to see' plan | Progressives pushing for changes Krystal Ball calls on Sanders to follow Yang's lead on war on drugs Buttigieg calls Warren 'evasive' on Medicare for all MORE (I-Vt.) and other prominent progressive Democrats. Former President Obama will campaign for Gillum later this week.