Within hours of winning the primary, Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum made race a major issue in his run for the governor’s mansion — and once-respected news outlets fanned the flames.
The firestorm highlighted the country’s racial divide, reawakened during the previous presidential administration.
It was ignited with an innocuous statement made by Gillum’s Republican rival, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, who explained that the voters shouldn’t “monkey up” successes made by the current governor.
Gillum, who’s the mayor of Tallahassee and is also black, immediately honed in on the “monkey up” phrase and took offense.
"In the handbook of Donald Trump, they no longer do whistle calls — they're now using full bullhorns," Gillum said on Fox News Wednesday afternoon. "I'm not going to get down in the gutter with DeSantis and Trump, there's enough of that going on, I'm going to try to stay high."
But by turning an inoffensive statement into a racial “bullhorn” he did exactly that — he wallowed “in the gutter.”
Media outlets that covered the statement gave it their own spin.
“Just hours after winning GOP nomination for Florida governor, Ron DeSantis said the last thing Floridians should do is 'monkey this up' by electing his African-American opponent Andrew Gillum,” said ABC News.
The Hill’s take was even more direct — and more egregious.
“DeSantis: Florida voters shouldn’t ‘monkey this up’ by voting for black candidate,” The Hill reported in a headlined tweet.
But according to The Hill’s own story, that wasn’t what the Republican said at all.
“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 said.
In short, “monkey this up” was in reference to an agenda — not a person.
“So the Left's theory is that DeSantis, who just spent 35 seconds praising Gillum, used the word ‘monkey’ as a verb in order to obliquely signal its meaning as a noun, reminding covert racists to vote for him — all without alerting the media,” observed Daily Wire editor in chief Ben Shapiro. “Yeah, sure.”
He also referred to The Hill’s headline.
“This headline is wildly misleading,” Shapiro added. “The actual quote was that the voters should not ‘monkey this up by enacting a socialist agenda with huge tax increases.' At least be accurate.”
Actress Kristy Swanson wondered what else was off-limits.
“You can no longer say... Let’s not throw a Monkey Wrench into it,” she speculated.
Gillum also addressed an FBI investigation alleging corruption within his city’s government, and brought both DeSantis and the president into the mix.
"In his case, he [DeSantis] and Donald Trump have done everything that they could to undermine the FBI,” Gillum said. “That is, in my opinion, where we draw a strong difference with each other."
The FBI began its probe in 2015, during the Barack Obama administration.
Fox News host Martha MacCallum believed the so-called racial remark was overblown by a hypersensitive mayor and a media all too eager to find controversy. The host of “The Story” also brought up the deceptive reporting of DeSantis’ statement.
“What kind of world are we living in where this is how quickly we jump the gun?” MacCallum asked Fox News political analyst Juan Williams. “And then Gillum says, ‘We’re so divided, how sad that we’re divided,’ but ‘it’s not a dog whistle it’s a bullhorn.’ So instead of saying he doesn’t want to be divided, he’s using this politically right out of the gate.”
Williams disagreed, and placed the blame for racial division on the president’s doorstep.
“You can’t [let it go] in this moment, when you have the president going after [U.S. Rep.] Maxine Waters. ...”
MacCallum pointed out that Trump is an equal opportunity attacker. “He’s pretty color-blind in that.”
If Williams were honest, he’d admit that racial tensions spiked during the Obama administration, a time when nearly every single issue came down to race.
The process began when his administration refused to prosecute Philadelphia New Black Panther members for voter intimidation when the evidence was caught on video.
It continued when he weighed into the Ferguson, Missouri Michael Brown shooting, the Trayvon Martin (“He could have been my son”) shooting, and the arrest of a black Cambridge, Massachusetts, professor.
In each instance the administration took the side of the minority without checking the facts.
And it was picked up by the Democratic Party to the point where even disagreement with the 44th president was tantamount to racism.
We went from being nearly color-blind to becoming once again totally color-conscious — and that’s the real pity.
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to BizPac Review and Liberty Unyielding. He’s also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter, who can often be found honing his skills at the range. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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