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

An MSNBC guest slammed Rep. Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantisTrump's baby blimp arrives in Florida for Mar-a-Lago protest Dems look to Gillum, Abrams for pathway to victory in tough states San Juan mayor calls Hurricane Maria ‘Trump's Katrina’ 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 TrumpSunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate Ex-Trump staffer out at CNN amid “false and defamatory accusations” Democrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her 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) SandersFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate Ben & Jerry’s co-founders announce effort to help 7 Dem House challengers Dems look to Gillum, Abrams for pathway to victory in tough states 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.