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Ron DeSantis Uses ‘Monkey’ Comment To Refer to Policies of Andrew Gillum, Who Is Black

| August 29, 2018

The inarticulate Ron DeSantis. (© FlaglerLive)

The inarticulate Ron DeSantis. (© FlaglerLive)

U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis used frequent appearances on Fox News during the primary-election campaign to deliver his conservative message to voters, helping him secure the Republican nomination for governor.


But on the first day of the general-election campaign, DeSantis on Wednesday became embroiled in a controversy as the result of a Fox News interview, with Democrats charging him with racism.

After accusing his Democratic opponent, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, of being “too liberal” for the state and questioning his leadership as mayor, DeSantis said Gillum, an African-American, was “an articulate spokesman for those far-left views” and is a “charismatic candidate.”

DeSantis said Gillum’s policies, which include support for an increase in the state tax on corporations and an expansion of government health-care programs, would reverse economic gains made under Republican Gov. Rick Scott.

“Let’s build off the success we’ve had under 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, and bankrupting the state,” DeSantis told Fox. “That’s not going to work.”

But DeSantis’ use of the word “monkey” in relation to the first African-American candidate ever nominated by a major party for governor in Florida drew a firestorm of criticism from Democrats.

“That was more than a dog whistle. That was absolutely a racist, disgusting statement,” U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla., said in a phone conference with reporters. “I don’t think there’s any other way to interpret it.”

But DeSantis’ campaign said Democrats were mischaracterizing his comments.

“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, a spokesman for the campaign.

“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,” he said.

A Fox News anchor said the network did not “condone this language,” while pointing viewers to the clarifying statement from the DeSantis campaign.

But the controversy is a sign that race may be in issue in the campaign for governor in the nation’s third-largest state, which like the rest of the country is becoming more demographically diverse. It is also a sign of what is likely to be a hard-fought, negative campaign between the two candidates.

In an interview Wednesday morning with CNN, Gillum accused DeSantis and President Donald Trump, whose support was a critical factor in DeSantis’ success, of “both scraping from the bottom of the barrel.”

“I actually believe that Florida and its rich diversity are going to be looking for a governor who’s going to bring us together, not misogynist, not racist, not bigoted,” Gillum said. “They’re going to be looking for a governor who’s going to appeal to our higher aspirations as a state, who’s going to talk about what it means to build a Florida that makes room for all of us and not just some of us.”

Both Trump and DeSantis have likened Gillum’s policy positions to “socialism.”

“I’m trying to make Florida even better. He wants to make Florida a Venezuela,” DeSantis said Tuesday night after trouncing Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam in the GOP gubernatorial primary.

DeSantis also said Gillum, who has the support of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and billionaire George Soros, a major donor to liberal candidates, is out of step with mainstream Florida voters.

“There is a difference in getting some of the Bernie Sanders people to vote for you in a primary and then going to the broader Florida electorate and trying to sell that message,” DeSantis said. “I don’t think that’s going to sell. I don’t think that dog will hunt in Florida.”

–Lloyd Dunkleberger, news Service of Florida

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69 Responses for “Ron DeSantis Uses ‘Monkey’ Comment To Refer to Policies of Andrew Gillum, Who Is Black”

  1. Makeitso1701 says:

    Not surprised. DeSantis is just another racist republican just like his boss, the cult leader of the trumpsters.
    Voting democrat all the way in November, and defeat the most corrupt administration in US history in 2020!

  2. David S. says:

    Here we go another TRUMP. Do not vote for this idiot please….

  3. Anonymous says:

    What a whiny bunch of liberals! The old saying goes, “Don’t throw a Monkey wrench into the Cogs”. Monkey wrench is a pipe wrench! The saying over the years has finally morphed in to “don’t monkey around with it, you’ll break it”. This old saying has nothing to do with a racial slur. Most liberals have never even held a pipe wrench, or monkey wrench or even done any work to know what this means. I promise you what I say is true. This was an old saying when I grew up and I am over 60 years old. You liberals need to lighten up!

  4. Keep Flagler Beautiful says:

    This is completely ridiculous, and I’m surprised you fell for it, Flagler Live. Would the oh-so-sensitive Democrats have preferred that he use the F word instead? Anyone with a brain knows that no racial inference was intended. I guess we’re going to have to start removing words from the dictionary, now.

  5. Roin says:

    What do you expect from a Trump acolyte?

  6. PC Citizen says:

    Ah, DeSantis is correct why do we want to throw a “monkey wrench” into a job that requires “Needlenose pliers ” ?

  7. OMG says:

    GET OVER IT……… Monkey business has been a non RACIAL term forever. I am 60 and have used it since I was a little kid. There are no RACIAL overtones to it at all.

    You crying libs have turned everything into RACISM.

  8. Anonymous says:

    The Dictionary clearly defines MONKEYING AROUND:
    Definition of monkey around with (something)

    informal
    1 : to use or do (something) in a way that is not very serious He enjoys monkeying around with his car’s engine.
    2 : to handle or play with (something) in a careless or foolish way You shouldn’t be monkeying around with dangerous chemicals.

    Asshole people are trying to say it means something different. DeSantis is due an apology by those making false allegations against him.

    DeSantis for GOVERNOR 2018

  9. Rob Jr says:

    No where is the word wrench in his sentence.

    This will only get worse.
    Wait until trump comes along with another one of his KKK rallies.

    And to show equal opportunity there will be the obligatory paid negroes on stage with signs Blacks for DeSantis. / trump

  10. tulip says:

    DeSantis was behind in the polls until Trump came here to endorse him, then D’s numbers ran up. DeSantis praises Trump in order to stay on the “good side” of Trump. Can’t wait until he says something Trump doesn’t like, and then gets called a low life or loser or other bad things.

    I find it very troubling and sad that DeSantis has to depend on trumpdump to win an election, rather than getting elected on his own merits. It does seem that whomever Trump hires or endorses turns out to be a not so great person. If a candidate is endorsed by Trump, I won’t vote for him or her,period.

  11. Veteran says:

    Totally agree with Anonymous. I guess he could have said “f*ck this up”. As an old sailor, that’s what I would have said.

  12. Traveling Rep says:

    This is absolutely bananas! Only a primate would fall for this nonsense. Stop flapping your guns like a bunch of raped apes. I swear, you guts are always monkeying around! Where is Tarzan when yo need him? King Kong? Silverbacks, every last one of us…

  13. Pogo says:

    @When, in the history of the world, have you ever heard someone say “monkey up” anything?

    orange bone spurs jr has trumped up.

  14. Tired of LIBs says:

    The term Monkey things up / Monkey wrench has been a term used FOREVER! Leave it to the liberals to make it a RACIST comment

  15. Common Sense says:

    The day after the primary the republican candidate (a trump clone)
    blows his dog whistle. No wasting time for this
    racist trump wannabe We don’t need this or want
    this in Florida

  16. Makeitso1701 says:

    It’s hilarious and sad at the same time when you trumpsters get your panties all in a twist trying to explain away what is very obvious for the rest of us,what de santies meant. Even Fox News put out a statement saying they don’t condone what de santies said.Just admit it, trump and de santies are racist.

    The truth shall set you free.

  17. CG says:

    DeSantis said EXACTLY what trumpers love to hear. Racism and greed is at the heart of the republican party. The current republican party is a cancer on America. God looks down at trump world and vomits!

  18. 107 says:

    If the shoe fits wear it…..don’t make up BS to try to win an election by a cheap shot. DeSantis never said anything or meant anything against any race. The Democrats are a bunch of cry babies that want to win by making stuff up to get sympathy rather than man up and win it on your own efforts. The saying of monkeying around has been around for centuries….everyone knows it means being foolish like monkeys are when they are observed. More fake news by our liberal media. Never before in my life do I recall the news reporting opinionated BS and not just the facts as they do today. The news isn’t even worth watching anymore. It is biased and then after the news we have to suffer through watching 3 hours of the news reporter doing brain washing sessions. That is not how it should be. Put the facts out there and let us make up our minds. The facts are, report what was said, and then get the view from both sides and report that and leave it there. We are not idiots that have to have the news media interpret it for us. I want to know how many voters in Miami Dade are illegally registered. We all know we have a Secretary of State that denies everything and that our Florida Voter Registration Data Base has been hacked several times in the past few years. The security of elections should be done by rotation of citizens who vote and are engaged. Let them take a test and then let them serve. We the citizens are the best watch dogs one can have.

  19. mausborn says:

    You are already using a racial slur against Gillum, who is a shining star. You stand with Trump, a _ussy grabber, bone spur coward, John McCain disrespecting, obstructor of justice, liar, unindicted felon, corrupt, Putin loving (Helsinki), traitor!

    The one good thing about Donald Trump is he’s allowed racists to be honest so we know their true colors. Ron Desantis is a racist scumbag!! Hispanics and Blacks will not vote for this nut job!!

  20. Stranger in a strange land says:

    Out of curiosity, can anyone find another radio, TV, published interview or other proveable situation that Ron Desantis has ever used the term “monkey up” prior to facing a black opponent?……..Odd that it would suddenly spring into his carefully scripted bullet points now. He has learned well from the master. When will he be using the “many people are saying….” phrase ? A total weasel term that allows you to deny that YOU ever said it. “It’s just what I have heard that many people are saying”. Slipperier than an eel. I call it implausible deniability. With all the Trump wanna be’s out there, I think I will start selling dog whistles on ebay. It looks like they will be in great demand. Would you like the racist version or misogynistic version? We have them made to match your opponent, step right up! Oh we got trouble, right here in river city, and it starts with a capital R. . Apologies to “The Music Man”.

  21. palmcoaster says:

    Hey Anonymous do not sugar coat turd please!
    This is the real meaning of what De Santis spoke: When the words “monkey this up” are used to refer to electing a man of color is a blatant….as per Dictionary.com.

  22. palmcoaster says:

    Laughable, De Santis accusing Gillium about trying to make a Venezuela out of Florida when him and his Potus are given our USA to Russia?

  23. KathieLee4 says:

    Please people , know the saying before jumping to conclusions . Always looking for the worst in people . I don’t care what side you’re on stop it once and for all.. Enough is enough ..

  24. Stranger in a strange land says:

    I guess he never heard the term “mucking things up”? Harvard law grads tend to choose their words carefully. I am sure he did.

  25. Mm says:

    Unbelievable!monkey monkey monkey monkey wth !Grow up people stop trying to make everything racist!!!!

  26. Hugh Janus says:

    what a horribly bad choice of words

  27. Nancy N. says:

    It’s sad how many of the commenters are falling for DeSantis’s denial of his intentions. See, that is the thing about dogwhistle racism like this…it’s disguised and subtle enough to give the person plausible deniability when challenged. But context makes it easy to decipher the real intended meaning.

    DeSantis really is a Trump clone. And that isn’t a compliment. They’re both ugly people.

  28. ColorBlind says:

    To “Anonymous”. I would buy your explanation of the “old saying” only if it had been thrown at a white opponent!

  29. marty b says:

    people read the whole sentence , where is the racist remark? This B.S. has got to stop!

  30. gmath55 says:

    I guess back in the day the band Monkees were racist. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wB9YIsKIEbA&list=RDEM86pLP22WGiM7Nr30GTZH3w&start_radio=1

    I liked their music and my band use to play some of their songs. But, that would be racist nowadays.

  31. Brian says:

    A cornerstone of the Democrats and liberals – when all else fails play the race card!

  32. Marty Barrett says:

    The GOP is increasingly emboldened by the orange Idiot in Chief and are now fully out of the closet with their racism. His cult following can continue to deny it if they wish but even these dolts most know now what is obvious to most

  33. Marty Barrett says:

    Perhaps we could remove the word ‘idiot’. I imagine that would cut down on the most common way people tend to insult you

  34. GT says:

    The only ones saying anything racial are the Democrats what DeSantis said wasn’t racist. When I moved here
    20 years ago there was no industry and no jobs Rick Scott turned this place around don’t MONKEY that up by electing the wrong man. If Bernie Sanders is behind this guy everyone should run away from him because Vermont is the most screwed up place i’ve ever been.

  35. Andy says:

    To those comments above attempting to educate us that a monkey wrench is a thing/phrase going waaay back, I respond: Duh
    It’s the fact that there’s a thousand ways to say your opponent will muck things up; and I believe this was either a subconscious sign of his bias; or at worst, a coded alert to a segment of Florida to be aware of the color of the skin of his opponent.
    If his opponent said something like “DeSantis should stay at home with the crackers” it would be similar! Although it would be a derogatory swipe at Caucasian ethnicity, it could be defended the the comment was for him to stay at home and eat kids snacks while the big boys handle policy.

  36. atilla says:

    The liberals are running scared. They’re reaching for straws and using the old race card to justify their losses. Why not join the winners??

  37. Concerned Citizen says:

    His exact quote was ” We don’t need to monkey this up”

    Could it be he chose to use monkey instead of the F Word? But yet the media needs to get everyone riled up. I guess he would have been better off dropping an F Bomb.

    It’s getting to where you can’t say anything anymore without someone taking it out of context and getting offended.

  38. Arlene says:

    Ahh…the hysteria begins. Everyone should calm down. So many words taken out of context to mean something else to start trouble, and spur the agenda. So much hate for Trump…why? Yes, says things he shouldn’t, but look at the things he’s accomplished. We have less taxes to pay, more money for us. Our 401k’s are going up, and if you own stock, you probably are doing better than ever. There are more jobs, unemployment is at an all time low, and the list goes on. I don’t know about most people, but I like NOT living from paycheck to paycheck and having more money in my pocket for my family. You don’t have to like the man, but he sure works hard for the American people, and he’s trying to make us prosperous again!

  39. Mark101 says:

    Many monkeys are shades of gray and brown. but there are plenty of other colors. Monkeys can be black, red, white, golden, or combinations of the above. Some even have markings in blue or pink!

  40. Richard says:

    Typical of Flaglerlive, they would rather pull out the “race” card in their attempt to discredit ANYONE versus looking at the REAL issues. AND that is one candidate, Gillum, wants Florida to turn into a socialist or even a communistic state versus remaining a strong capitalist state which DeSantis wants. Look at where the money came from for Gillum’s campaign, Sanders & Soros, that tells it all. The issue is NOT black versus white, it’s all about controlling the money. Look how far that concept got president Obama after spending 8 years as CEO of this country. Gillum wants to take us backward not forward. If you think otherwise read some or ALL of THIS article. http://www.culture-war.info/Socialism.html

  41. Bill says:

    Well didnt take long for our left and this site to vilify this man a a racist. Using a common term as monkey to describe messing things up is not what the but hurt media and left (redundant I know) want yo tell all others it means a racial slur. Well that’s about all the Ds have is to vilify others as they have NO good ideas for this Republic.

  42. marlee says:

    Ron DeSastrous IS out of step with mainstream Florida voters.

  43. Joe says:

    So now using the phrase “monkey it up” means your a racist? Give it a break people!

  44. Jason B says:

    DeSantis blows on his dog whistle so much, he must buy them by the case.

  45. The Truth says:

    Mr. De Santis your true colors came out yesterday, and your commercials throwing everything about Trump told us voters who you really are. Your a puppet for Trump. We are tired of the mug slinging from your Trump party.

  46. Reality Check says:

    Even Republicans know Desantis is an idiot but they will still vote for him because for them it is party over country.

  47. Michael Cocchiola says:

    Why are trumpers routinely disgusting? Why do they insult, distort, divide, denigrate and dismiss? Why…because they can. They know they speak to and for their base. They know that nothing objectional they say or do will be held against them. They are safe in their 1940 cocoon.

  48. Well... says:

    @anon
    Perhaps if DeSantis used the saying as “noted” in your statement, it wouldn’t be the deal it is being made out to be and besides, the Fox News anchor was the FIRST person to condone his statement. The “liberal” war cry came later. DeSantis is 39 years old, which makes him my age, and I did not grow up saying those idioms. We said other things, so if he were your age, it would make more sense for him to use those specific euphemisms. Besides, there are a million other synonyms he could’ve chosen for his statement. Personally, words are words and I don’t care, I say things that offend everyone because I don’t believe in being PC, nor do I have that self-censor button that stops me from pressing someone’s buttons. Both sides need to grow some thicker skin IMO as your spouting off in defense of his word choice shows. Politics is ugly, divisiveness is uglier, and the people that get enraged on both sides are the ugliest.

  49. oldtimer says:

    I my God I heard something that offends me, where’s my safe space , where’s my therapy puppy?

  50. Bernie 2020 says:

    @Anonymous and @Keep Flagler Beautiful

    He didn’t say Monkey wrench. He said “monkey this up” comment which is not a real saying. He also referred to Andrew Gillum as as an articulate spokesman for those far-left views and a charismatic candidate.

    What is he really trying to say here? Would he say that about another candidate or just the black ones? Anyone that holds an office has to be articulate.

    But then again DeSantis has done nothing for Flagler County and will do nothing for Florida. I think his house in Palm Coast is still empty. He has been too worried about defending his buddy in the white house than worrying about all the damage two hurricanes did to our area and local businesses.

    Anyway regardless of how you vote Gillum is for expanding Medicare and accepting the money that Scott keeps turning down to expand as apart of Obamacare. That alone gets my vote. Too many of my friends and family are passing on seeing a doctor or leaving medication at Walgreens because they just can’t afford it or are falling into a donut hole with their insurance. That in turn hurts not only their health but our economy. If they have to spend their extra money on meds or doc visits then they don’t go and buy a new fence, go out to eat or visit theme parks or shop at local businesses.

  51. stephen dolan says:

    Gilum was photographed by the FBI on a boat in New York with a corrupt lobbyist and an undercover FBI Agent as land deals were discussed.

    5 years of his records as Mayor have been taken by the FBI for investigation.

    His response “I was not a target of any probe.”

    Does he think Florida voters are stupid?

  52. Tracy M says:

    After reading the comments, I am amazed at how stupid the people in Palm Coast truly are. Not that I’m a fan of this guy, or any politician, but seriously? That comment about “monkeying up” was not used in a racist way.
    The intelligence level of the people commenting that it is racism must be “special needs”! OOPS, Did I offend anyone?

  53. Sherry says:

    DeSantis gave an obviously rehearsed speech essentially saying to his base that they should watch out for his black opponent . . . he’s (surprisingly) articulate and charismatic. . . but, he is still evolved from apes. While we lily “white” (read Supremacists here) folks came from the “Garden of Eden”.

    Racist. . . you bet ya!

  54. Mr Chris says:

    Where was the outrage when Obama used the term in an interview?

  55. Mark says:

    To all you saints out there, I guess you never used a word that was taken the wrong way. Tell me, what has DeSantis done to indicate he is a racist? Give me something with some meat on it. Give me an argument with some substance. I am white, privileged, old, fat and deplorable. While I can honestly say I have never called anyone the dreaded N word, I grew up in the south and I heard many blacks call each other the dreaded N word many, many times while working with them. I have cringed many times and scolded people who have used the word in front of me and I will continue to do so. But, the world shouldn’t stop rotating when it is used. As many say, it is a good teaching moment. It is a very disrespectful term. Life goes on. Want to help stamp out race problems; stop asking what race a person is! We are all humans! We all bleed red.Love each other equally. I even love Pierre, (not the way your dirty minds are thinking right now either) even though I don’t agree with just about anything that comes out of his pen. Hell, sometimes he even lets my comments post when he is in a good mood.

  56. Anonymous says:

    Odell Beckham jr did it too the other day….why is noone hounding him?

  57. anono says:

    A reporter from The Daily Caller on Thursday criticized Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) saying he doesn’t condone the Florida gubernatorial candidate’s controversial remarks in “any way.”

    The Daily Caller’s (a conservative website) Henry Rodgers said that DeSantis’s comments, in which he warned Florida voters not to “monkey this up” by voting for his Democratic opponent, were “absolutely ridiculous.”
    “I think it’s absolutely ridiculous,” Rodgers said to Hill.TV co-hosts Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton on “Rising.”
    “I don’t think there’s any Republican who is going to come out here and defend DeSantis’s comments. I cannot defend this in any way.” In other words, those who make excuses for DeSantis’ words and actions are really going over the edge of madness… applauding traitors and crooks like Scott, DeSantis and Trump shows a complete lack of ethics and morals.

  58. Elvis says:

    Outside of crying “racism” at every little thing, other than giving away free stuff, what is the Democratic platform?

  59. Agkistrodon says:

    I see the usual suspects are “shocked and appalled”. If a microphone followed all around 24/7, there would be a lot more Hypocrites in the world.

  60. OMG says:

    So all of you anti Trumpers and Anti Conservatives.

    Where were you when Obama said “Democrats have been know to “MONKEY” around with Elections on Sept $th 2008

    Or when Chuck Schumer said on April 24th 2017 “Donald Trump threw a MONKEY wrench with the wall”

    OR when Diannes Feinstein said “No one has ever been allowed to MONKEY around our electoral system” on Sept 23rd 2016

    All I can say is keep it up. You make us conservative realize more and more every day we do not want your type of thinkers in there moneying up our Country. You motivate Conservatives to VOTE Thank you

  61. jane doh says:

    I bet he almost said either the f-bomb, or else the scr@w word and thought he couldn’t say it and mumbled out the m*nkey word instead of mucked because is was too close to F@cked. or something along those lines. Anyhow, monkey is not a curse word. What the heck is wrong with people to make a big deal of it.

  62. Richard says:

    @ OMG – Yes, so quickly people forget about the past and the deplorable comments coming out of the mouths of democrats but HECK that’s OK because THEY are chosen hypocritical democrats who are allowed to do whatever they want. Republicans on the other hand are the scum of the earth and deserve to be beaten down until they no longer can stand it any longer. Well guess what dems, we are no longer your doormats!

  63. Mark says:

    @Rob Jr says,

    Don’t you mean democrat Robert Byrd’s KKK? I don’t thing Trump was ever a member of the KKK let alone a leader of the KKK. Liberals need to do some studying and get their fake facts correct.

  64. wow says:

    DeSantis is a Trump wannabe. This is the last thing Florida needs.

  65. palmcoaster says:

    @OMG the 3 episodes you point about the monkey wrench or monkey up were not refereed to a running candidate of color. Also you trumpist out there stop blaming FlaglerLive and what you call the “fake media” or the Democrats reporting or complaining about how much worst and deeper the current DC Swamp smells now! I am still a registered REP (like McCain and others were/are) holding my nose at today’s DC contaminated swap stench…and will vote accordingly in November against Racism, Division, Corruption and Tyranny.

  66. Wayne says:

    At the very least this comment was INSENSATIVE! At the worst RACIST! You have to ask yourself, WHY would he choose this phrase? There is only one answer, DOG WHISTLE!
    And for those who say this is a common term, and you hear it all the time, I say BS! I’m 60 years old, and have NEVER heard the term used before! If you hear it regularly amongst your friends, NAYBE you should examine your friends more closely?

  67. Charlie says:

    Don’t worry, Hillary lost and so will Gillum !

    MAGA

  68. palmcoaster says:

    Maybe DeSantis needs to be serenaded as the racist NY attorney Schlossbergh was serenaded by a Mariachi band and the crowd of Latinos he offessibly insulted;https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8rx3HZgDHA

  69. Randy Jones says:

    You never monkey with the truth.
    – Ben Bradlee

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