Over a week after saying that electing Andrew Gillum governor would “monkey this up,” Republican gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis is still defending his choice of words even on friendly media outlets.
Saturday saw the Congressman from Marineland on Fox News Channel with Neil Cavuto, when the longtime host asked DeSantis if he regretted using a turn of phrase characterized in many quarters as a racist “dogwhistle” comment.
“It’s a phony controversy,” DeSantis said, a distraction from Gillum’s proposal to raise corporate taxes from five to seven percent.
When asked if he would use the phrase again, DeSantis exclaimed “of course not! Of course not,” before lapsing back into a de facto defense of the phrasing.
“People are going to demagogue what you say,” DeSantis contended, adding that “the voters know this is a nothingburger … I’m not going to be derailed by these controversies.”
DeSantis appeared Saturday morning with his pick for Lt. Gov., Miami-Dade Rep. Jeannette Nunez.
Nunez has been compelled to walk back a tweet she put out ahead of the Florida primary that called President Donald Trump (DeSantis’ political patron) the “biggest con-man there is,” and though Cavuto didn’t post the tweet on screen, he did ask if Nunez was comfortable with Trump campaigning for the ticket.
“Absolutely,” Nunez said, citing the “continued progress” Trump has been able to bring to the United States.
“We’re going to do the same for Florida,” Nunez vowed.
The Republican ticket may need Trump both on the stump and on the fundraising circuit if the first week’s receipts are any indication.
In the week between the primary and Aug. 31, Gillum raised $4,027,927.15, compared to DeSantis’ $527,879.53.
Polls of the race thus far say it is too close to call.