Andrew Gillum called out his Republican rival Ron DeSantis for consorting with racists and echoing their message during his campaign for governor of Florida.
In a powerful moment during their second debate on Wednesday, Florida Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum confronted his Republican rival, Ron DeSantis, on his embrace of racism — and pointed out that “the racists believe he’s a racist.”
DeSantis got extremely defensive when debate moderator Todd McDermott asked the Republican nominee about his problematic history on race.
As McDermott pointed out, Fox News denounced DeSantis for telling Floridians not to “monkey this up” by voting for his African-American opponent.
McDermott also reminded DeSantis that conservative leader David Horowitz, at whose conferences DeSantis was a frequent guest, has claimed that America’s “only serious race war” is against white people — yet DeSantis has described Horowitz as a “straight shooter” and said he was an “admirer” of Horowitz’s work.
DeSantis thundered in response, “How in the hell am I supposed to know every single statement someone makes?”
Gillum had a perfect, devastating response to DeSantis’ meltdown.
“My grandmother used to say, ‘a hit dog will holler,’ and it hollered through this room,” Gillum said. “[DeSantis] has got neo-Nazis helping him out in the state, he has spoken at racist conferences, he’s accepted a contribution and would not return it from someone who referred to the former President of the United States as a Muslim n-i-g-g-e-r. When asked to return that money, he said no. He’s using that money to now fund negative ads.
“Now, I’m not calling Mr. DeSantis a racist — I’m simply saying the racists believe he’s a racist.”
The audience erupted into laughs and cheers at DeSantis’ expense.
The proverb Gillum mentioned, “A hit dog will holler,” is used to point out that guilty people will often loudly object when they are called out for their offense.
The angry, defensive response DeSantis gave when confronted with his cynical support of racism is a perfect example of this — and Gillum exposed him for it with one short, clear statement.
After all, Trump has repeatedly touted DeSantis, whom he endorsed for governor in the Republican primary and in the general election. In turn, DeSantis has modeled his public persona on Trump, who is a racist.
DeSantis launched his general election campaign with a racial slur directed at Gillum, and has surrounded himself with likeminded people and supporters.
Now, in front of Florida voters and in front of America, DeSantis was expertly called out for his willingness to court and support the most vile brand of hate.
No wonder he hollered.