DeSantis: 'Monkey' comment was not about race

In an interview on Fox News, Florida republican gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis said his 'monkey comment' about his opponent Andrew Gillum has zero to do with race. CNN's Ryan Nobles reports.

Posted: Sep 4, 2018 4:43 AM
Updated: Sep 4, 2018 5:06 AM

A racist robocall targeted Andrew Gillum days after the Tallahassee mayor won the Democratic nomination in the Florida governor's race, giving him a shot at becoming the state's first black chief executive.

The 78-second prerecorded message, obtained by CNN, is narrated by a man speaking in a caricature of a black dialect with cartoonish jungle noises in the background. It ends with a disclaimer that it was paid for by The Road to Power, a white supremacist and anti-Semitic video podcast hosted by Scott Rhodes of Idaho.

The phone message went to Florida residents, but it's unclear how many received it. The Tallahassee Democrat first reported the robocall.

The same neo-Nazi group recently sponsored robocalls in Iowa, using Mollie Tibbetts' death to attack Latinos and promote white supremacy, the Des Moines Register reported. There have also been reports the group previously targeted local officials in California, Virginia and Washington state.

The Gillum campaign's communications director, Geoff Burgan, said the robocall is "reprehensible -- and could only have come from someone with intentions to fuel hatred and seek publicity."

"Please don't give it undeserved attention," he said.

The campaign of Gillum's Republican opponent, Rep. Ron DeSantis, also denounced the robocall.

"This is absolutely appalling and disgusting -- and hopefully whoever is behind this has to answer for this despicable action," DeSantis communications director Stephen Lawson said.

"Our campaign has and will continue to focus solely on the issues that Floridians care about and uniting our state as we continue to build on our success," Lawson said.

DeSantis faced criticism earlier this week for saying during a Fox News appearance that Florida voters should not "monkey this up" by electing Gillum the day after he won the Republican primary for governor. DeSantis' campaign denied the comments had anything to do with race.

"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," said Stephen Lawson, the communications director for the DeSantis campaign.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 145636

Reported Deaths: 3745
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto963299
Hinds9584195
Harrison6848109
Jackson6124118
Rankin528598
Lee484295
Madison4633105
Forrest368186
Jones345287
Lauderdale3350143
Lafayette315049
Washington3097107
Lamar281849
Oktibbeha239261
Bolivar239083
Lowndes228863
Neshoba2164115
Panola211749
Marshall208350
Leflore200890
Pontotoc194728
Monroe190277
Sunflower189755
Lincoln186165
Warren172257
Tate164251
Union160925
Pike160458
Copiah158940
Yazoo151239
Scott150229
Itawamba147634
Coahoma147443
Pearl River144467
Simpson144253
Alcorn143925
Prentiss140429
Grenada136945
Adams136548
Leake131843
Holmes124961
George122224
Tippah121530
Covington117636
Winston116624
Wayne115823
Hancock114139
Marion111046
Attala107833
Tishomingo106142
Newton102729
Chickasaw102432
Tallahatchie95527
Clarke88553
Clay87027
Jasper81122
Walthall75028
Stone72414
Montgomery71925
Calhoun71613
Carroll70614
Lawrence70214
Yalobusha69427
Noxubee69217
Smith68816
Perry65225
Tunica59619
Greene58422
Claiborne57416
Jefferson Davis54217
Humphreys52618
Amite51214
Benton48417
Quitman4796
Webster42014
Kemper40917
Wilkinson38622
Jefferson33811
Franklin3235
Choctaw3077
Sharkey30617
Issaquena1114
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 236865

Reported Deaths: 3472
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson31043491
Mobile19446360
Tuscaloosa12684150
Madison12528146
Montgomery12122235
Shelby992276
Baldwin837684
Lee759765
Morgan626247
Calhoun6049113
Etowah600564
Marshall596153
Houston510838
DeKalb469635
Cullman421136
Limestone408844
St. Clair403955
Elmore398961
Lauderdale387253
Walker356199
Talladega339044
Jackson302524
Colbert297641
Blount282236
Autauga266139
Franklin246233
Coffee236615
Dale228454
Dallas222331
Russell21923
Chilton218537
Covington215933
Escambia196931
Tallapoosa171790
Chambers171448
Pike156014
Clarke155319
Marion135535
Winston126623
Lawrence123936
Geneva11848
Pickens117618
Marengo117424
Barbour116710
Bibb115717
Butler114341
Randolph100321
Cherokee99624
Hale93231
Washington89918
Clay89623
Fayette86216
Henry8436
Lowndes78929
Monroe77911
Cleburne75614
Macon71720
Crenshaw70330
Bullock69019
Conecuh68214
Perry6726
Lamar6337
Wilcox62818
Sumter56222
Choctaw41813
Greene41317
Coosa3144
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