On Wednesday, Florida Republican gubernatorial nominee Rep. Ron DeSantis’ (R-FL) campaign clarified their candidate’s use of the term “monkey this up” earlier in the day as a warning to Florida voters against embracing socialist policies.
“Ron DeSantis was obviously talking about Florida not making the wrong decision to embrace the socialist policies that Gillum espouses,” DeSantis campaign communications director Stephen Lawson said in a statement addressing criticism of DeSantis for saying “monkey this up” on Wednesday’s edition of “America’s Newsroom” on Fox News Channel. “To characterize it as anything else is absurd. 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,” Lawson added.
Appearing as a guest on the television program, DeSantis spoke of his opponent Gillum’s liberal political positions. DeSantis told viewers, “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.”
He received swift backlash after using the term on the news network. Florida Democratic Party chairwoman Terrie Rizzo slammed DeSantis, “It’s disgusting that Ron DeSantis is launching his general election campaign with racist dog whistles.”
Fox News addressed the comment and criticisms of it a short time later, reporting the DeSantis campaign response to the criticism and stating that they “do not condone this language,” as host Sandra Smith reported. She added that Gillum would appear on the network at 3 p.m. with host Shepard Smith.
DeSantis won the Republican nomination in Florida’s Tuesday gubernatorial primary election. He faces off against Gillum in November’s general election.