Gillum says trash-talking Trump lacks ‘courage’ to tag him in 'thief' tweet

Gillum says trash-talking Trump lacks ‘courage’ to tag him in 'thief' tweet
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Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum (D) on Monday called President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch To ward off recession, Trump should keep his mouth and smartphone shut Trump: 'Who is our bigger enemy,' Fed chief or Chinese leader? MORE "weak" for labeling him a "thief" without directly mentioning him in a tweet hours earlier.

"On Twitter there is a choice between having the courage to @ the person you are trash talking, or not. @realDonaldTrump is howling because he's weak. Florida, go vote today," Gillum tweeted.

The Tallahassee mayor, who has responded similarly to other Trump attacks, hit back a short time after the president urged his followers to support Republican candidate Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantisFlorida first lady to miss Women for Trump event due to planned execution Florida governor orders criminal investigation into handling of Jeffrey Epstein case Groups ask court to block ex-felon voting law in Florida MORE in a tweet that called Gillum a thief.

"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!" Trump tweeted.

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Gillum has not been convicted of any crime, but he is caught up in a corruption investigation related to his administration, and 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.

Trump's unfounded assertion that Gillum is a "thief" was the latest remark in an election in which race has played a prominent role. 

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. Trump will return to Florida on Wednesday to hold a second campaign rally for DeSantis, while former President Obama is scheduled to stump for Gillum later this week.

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