MSNBC guest says DeSantis should drop out: 'Might as well have just said the N-word'

An MSNBC guest slammed Rep. Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantisFlorida secretary of state who resigned apologizes for blackface photos The Hill's Morning Report — Trump complicates border wall negotiations Parkland parents ask Pulitzer panel to honor local paper for school shooting coverage MORE (R) on Wednesday over his comment urging Florida voters not to "monkey this up" by electing Democratic gubernatorial rival Andrew Gillum, saying DeSantis should apologize or drop out.

SiriusXM Progress host Mark Thompson said during an appearance on MSNBC that DeSantis "might as well have just said the N-word" while advising that he "immediately apologize and/or drop out of the race" over the comment. 

“When you say monkey in reference to an African-American, he might as well have just said the N-word,” Thompson, who is African-American, told MSNBC's Ali Velshi. “Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpMcCabe says he was fired because he 'opened a case against' Trump McCabe: Trump said 'I don't care, I believe Putin' when confronted with US intel on North Korea McCabe: Trump talked to me about his election victory during 'bizarre' job interview MORE needs to condemn this. DeSantis needs to immediately apologize and/or drop out of the race.”

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“This is absolutely racist and if he gets away with it this time, he’s going to continue to do it,” Thompson added.

DeSantis faced backlash on Wednesday after saying during a Fox News interview that Florida voters should not "monkey this up" by electing Gillum, who won an upset victory in his Democratic primary the previous night.

Gillium, who was backed by Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersSenate Dems introduce bill to prevent Trump from using disaster funds to build wall Klobuchar, O'Rourke visit Wisconsin as 2020 race heats up Sherrod Brown pushes for Medicare buy-in proposal in place of 'Medicare for all' MORE (I-Vt.), would be Florida's first black governor if elected. He is going head-to-head against DeSantis in November to replace Gov. Rick Scott (R), who is running for Senate.

“Let’s build off the success we’ve had on Gov. Scott. The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases bankrupting the state. That is not going to work," DeSantis had said during an appearance on Fox News's "America's Newsroom."  

Fox News anchor Sandra Smith said in a follow-up segment that “we do not condone this language.” 
 
Smith also directed viewers to a statement from DeSantis's campaign, which sought to clarify the Florida Republican's remarks.

“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," DeSantis communications director Stephen Lawson said in the statement obtained by The Hill.

"Florida’s economy has been on the move for the last eight years and the last thing we need is a far-left democrat trying to stop our success," he added.
 
Gillum will be interviewed by Fox's Shepard Smith on Wednesday afternoon.