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Fact Check: Yes, Andrew Gillum Signed Radical Group’s Pledge

R. Jai Gillum, Andrew Gillum
AP Photo/Steve Cannon

Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum is facing questions for claiming during Sunday night’s debate that he had “no idea” what opponent Ron DeSantis was referring to when refencing a pledge that Gillum signed that supports a “radical manifesto.”

“The fact is, Andrew signed a pledge with the Dream Defenders pledging his support, this radical manifesto,” DeSantis said at the televised debate.

“I have no idea what pledge he is talking about,” Gillum replied.

Not only did Gillum sign the pledge in question, he has evidenced a close personal and professional relationship with Dream Defenders, the group that promoted the pledge. Gillum has talked about aiding the group’s activism and written in strong support of Dream Defenders and its co-founder, Phillip Agnew. In turn, Agnew himself recently described a long and close working and personal relationship with Gillum and said he considers Gillum to be “part of the movement.”

PolitiFact noted that Dream Defenders confirmed Gillum signed the pledge:

Gillum signed a Dream Defenders Freedom Papers elected officials pledge in June 2018, along with three other Democratic gubernatorial candidates, according to Dream Defenders spokeswoman Nailah Summers. Summers said 30 Florida politicians have signed the pledge.

At FloridaPolitics.com, Jacob Ogles wrote, “Actually, yes, Andrew Gillum signed a Dream Defenders pledge.”

The pledge contains specific language stating “I pledge my support to the Freedom Papers.”

The “Freedom Papers,” in turn, exclaim that “police and prisons have no place in ‘justice.’”

The “Freedom Papers” also advocate textbook socialist principals such as claiming that “by virtue of being born each of us has the absolute right to adequate food, shelter, clothing, water, healthcare, effective public transportation, dignified work, living wages.”

Gillum’s claim of ignorance about the pledge comes despite his close relationship with Dream Defenders.

Gillum previously posted a picture of himself on Facebook posing with Phillip Agnew, the co-founder of Dream Defenders. “Ran into two Rattlers today at CBC,” reads Gillum’s caption on the photo, dated September 25, 2014. “Could not be prouder of Phillip Agnew and commissioner Keon Hardemon.”

Gillum was taped at a June debate saying that he is “pleased and proud” to have sneaked food to Dream Defenders activists during a 30-day sleep-in protest at the Florida State Capital, referring to a 2013 month-long anti-gun protest in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting. “I hope you keep at it,” Gillum said of Dream Defenders activists during a June event.

Dream Defenders Action Fund, the electoral and c4 nonprofit arm of Dream Defenders, was part of a progressive coalition that reportedly committed $3.5 million to help Gillum win the Democratic primary against Gwen Graham.

Gillum and Dream Defenders’ Agnew are so familiar with each other that while he was a city commissioner in Tallahassee, Gillum himself penned a glowing profile at the far-left Alternet publication promoting Agnew and the activist’s work founding Dream Defenders titled, “We need more Phillip Agnews.”

Gillum related:

Seven years later, in response to the shooting of Florida teen Trayvon Martin, Agnew built on his past social justice experiences and connections to form the Dream Defenders, which helped bring national attention to the Martin case. From Governor Scott’s office, the Dream Defenders pushed for a repeal of Florida’s Stand Your Ground law and a special legislative session on racial profiling and the school-to-prison pipeline, among other demands. Following 31 days in the Capitol and a commitment from Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford to hold a hearing on the state’s Stand Your Ground law, Agnew announced that the Dream Defenders would leave to refocus on civic engagement in their communities to amplify the need for reform. Dream Defenders, which continues to be led by young people of color, now has chapters on nine college campuses in Florida and continues to highlight racial and social economic justice issues.

Gillum, who would go on to become Tallahassee mayor, gushed in the March 2014 profile: “We must learn from the successes of young leaders like the Dream Defenders and recruit, train and connect thousands more local organizers and activists, particularly in underrepresented communities and regions of the country.”

Gillum and Agnew are both graduates of the Rockwood Leadership Institute, an Oakland, California-based training school for progressive revolutionaries that has spawned a list of activists who have gone on to become the who’s who of the far-left leadership world, with many taking senior positions at organizations financed by billionaire George Soros.

Breitbart News reported that in its official endorsement of Gillum, Dream Defenders said they see Gillum as “by far the best candidate for our movement to engage with in pushing our revolutionary vision.”

Dream Defenders announced the politician’s “governorship would completely change the terrain on which our movement is fighting and the makeup of the Democratic Party itself.” The endorsement advertised that Gillum’s “progressive platform for Florida creates much more favorable conditions for our movement and our people.”

In its endorsement, Dream Defenders summarized the aims of its “movement” as no less than the replacement of the current state with a “people-centered” state — a clear euphemism for socialism.

“Our vision for Florida — the Freedom Papers — is one where a people-centered state replaces our current profit-centered one,” Dream Defenders said.

Dream Defenders announced that Gillum is the first politician that the group has endorsed in its six-year history.

The radical organization said Gillum’s platform is critical to altering the politics of Florida and making the state a model for “progressive governance”:

This is not only one of the most progressive platforms that a Florida gubernatorial candidate has ever run on, but it is also one of the most progressive platforms we have seen from any gubernatorial candidate in the country. Florida is ground zero for far right, corporate-control of our government. With Gillum’s platform, we have the opportunity to shift this and become a model for progressive governance. It is our job to hold him — and every elected [sic] — to the promises made in this platform.

Dream Defenders praised Gillum as “the only non-millionaire (or billionaire) running for governor,” leaving out that he is openly financially backed by billionaires George Soros and Tom Steyer.

Dream Defenders reminisced about Gillum aiding the organization:

Andrew Gillum is by far the best candidate for our movement to engage with in pushing our revolutionary vision. In 2014, when Gillum was Mayor of Tallahassee, the Dream Defenders shut down Tallahassee’s Annual Christmas Parade to bring attention to police violence, he didn’t have us arrested. Instead, he opened the space for us talk [sic] to the crowd.

As Breitbart News reported, a simple perusal of the website of Dream Defenders, the organization so feverishly championed by Gillum, evidences the group’s open radicalism. The organization calls for an “end” to “disaster capitalism,” rants against Independence Day and spreads malicious falsehoods about Israel.

The main page boasts that Dream Defenders is “building a powerful, deep, local, organization and movement for freedom and liberation in Florida.

A section on its website about July 4th urges supporters to “acknowledge that the independence being commemorated has not been won for the people of this land.”

Independence Day in America should be utilized “to illuminate the ‘immeasurable distances’ between U.S. citizens and the harm committed in our name around the world,” the organization states. “What to the prisoner is the fourth of July?” Dream Defenders asks. “The indigenous people who were here before white settlers?”

The anti-patriotic posting goes on to call for an end to “disaster capitalism” and the total abolition of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, while lamenting U.S. military aid to Israel:

The only future for us to survive within is one of demilitarization, and an end to disaster capitalism, where money and weapons no longer get to criss cross borders with ease while black and brown children are held captive as collateral damage.

Why is there enough money to bomb Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, but not enough to support the self determination of migrants and refugees fleeing the very violence the U.S. has inflicted? Why is there enough money to sign contracts with private prison corporations like CoreCivic and GEO Group for hundreds of millions of dollars, but not enough money to rebuild Puerto Rico? Why are there billions of dollars allocated to Israel’s military to kill unarmed protestors [sic] but not the same investment to clean Flint’s water supply? The consequences of normalizing the immense violence perpetuated under the banner of U.S. exceptionalism ripple far and wide. We are all harmed by the racist misallocation of resources in America towards never ending extraction and destruction. We mourn for all of the lives lost this year serving the war machines.

In the U.S. thousands have rallied around the country demanding ICE be abolished and children be reunited with their families.

Breitbart News reported that Dream Defenders organized a flash mob in Israel to officially endorse the BDS movement against the Jewish state.

Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program: Aaron Klein Investigative Radio. Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.

Written with research by Joshua Klein.

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