Rep. Ron DeSantis, Republican gubernatorial candidate for Florida, has been fighting off backlash from a phrase he used to describe the far left political leanings of his black Democratic opponent, Andrew Gillum, and doubling down that “monkey this up” was a warning against wrecking the state with socialist policies.
Maybe if DeSantis were a Democrat, there wouldn’t be any problem with his choice of phrase.
Barack Obama, as Breitbart noted, warned voters in 2008 that politicians had far too often, and at great peril to the nation, “monkeyed around with elections in the past.”
Where were the outraged accusations of racism then?
Here’s what DeSantis said, in context of discussing Gillum’s leftist leanings: “The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state.”
From that, came all this furor — and deceit.
“Florida’s GOP gubernatorial nominee says a vote for his black opponent would ‘monkey this up,’ ” blasted CNN in a headline.
And then this, from the Wrap: “Fox News Anchor Rebukes Ron DeSantis for ‘Monkey’ Comment About Black Opponent.”
As NBC reporter Ali Vitali tweeted: “DeSantis‘ spox tells me this is something the congressman says ‘frequently’ to express something that was messed up or not done right. Spox said it ‘had nothing to do with race or anything like that’ but just talking about the situation in Florida.”
Everybody gets that. Even Obama.
“I come from Chicago. It’s not as if it’s just Republicans who have monkeyed around with elections in the past,” he said, back in 2008 at Kent State University, Breitbart reported. “Sometimes Democrats have, too.”
Meanwhile, DeSantis himself made an appearance on Fox News with Sean Hannity to clarify what really doesn’t need clarifying — and what wouldn’t need clarifying if Democrats and Gillum’s campaign could refrain from inserting racism where no racism exists.
“It has zero to do with race,” DeSantissaid of his phrase. “It has everything to do with whether we want Florida to continue to go in a good direction, building off the success, or do we want to turn to left-wing, socialist policies, which will absolutely devastate our state?”
Exactly. Now if the Democrats could only stop all this monkeying around, maybe the Florida race could progress with focus on policies and what matters.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley.
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