President Donald Trump didn’t namedrop any Democrats facing primary battles as he touted Congressman Ron Desantis, Gov. Rick Scott and other Republicans in Tampa on Tuesday evening.
But, by process of elimination, it’s clear that he did at one point refer to Andrew Gillum, mayor of Tallahassee and Democratic gubernatorial hopeful, as DeSantis’ potential opponent.
After encouraging rally attendees to vote for DeSantis in the Aug. 28 primary, Trump told the audience to not forget about the Nov. 6 general election. His following comments detailed a candidate who almost certainly is Gillum.
“You have somebody, one of the group, is going to be running on open borders, anti-ICE, anti-law enforcement,” Trump said. He was then cut-off by a protester.
Gillum, who’s staked claim to a progressive approach in the race for governor, made headlines in early July after calling for the abolishment of ICE “in its current form.” ICE is a widely used acronym for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The Orlando Sentinel reported earlier this month that the other Democratic candidates for governor — Gwen Graham, Jeff Greene, Chris King and Philip Levine — had been “critical but more cautious, all calling for ‘reforms’ but not using the term ‘abolish.’”
In a Democratic primary, where most candidates have sought to criticize Trump on the campaign trail, being singled out by the President during a nationally syndicated appearance could make up the difference. And Gillum already is turning the half-mention into campaign fodder.
Per the Gillum campaign: “Gillum is the first and only Florida Democratic candidate to have the courage to stand up to Trump’s inhumane family separation policy by calling for the abolishment of ICE and replacement of it with a humane, compassionate federal agency.”
Nearing the end of the rally, Trump implored his audience once more to vote in November, and may have referred to Greene, a Palm Beach billionaire and next-door neighbor to Trump’s Florida residence – though the mention is vaguer than Gillum’s.
“I know some of the candidates,” Trump said, before ranting about Democratic candidates’ lax approach to secure borders.
Greene has campaigned off of his adversarial relationship with the President, even going as far as purchasing TV ads depicting him arguing with Trump at Mar-a-Lago. He also held an anti-Trump protest near the rally earlier on Tuesday.