Democratic Jacksonville City Councilman Garrett Dennis may have been talking about a unified party in the constant struggle against GOP Mayor Lenny Curry when he said “We cannot turn the gun on each other. We must point the gun at the enemy.”
But at least part of his reported comments Monday was interpreted/spun differently by the Duval County Republican Party.
“It is beyond insensitive and disgraceful for City Councilman Garrett Dennis to encourage his fellow Democrats to ‘point the gun at the enemy’ while specifically referring to our Mayor,” wrote party chair Karyn Morton Tuesday evening.
Morton continued: “At a time when our State and our City struggle with a rash of violent crime — including the recent murder of 7-year-old Tashawn Gallon — this veiled threat by Councilman Dennis is appalling. The voters of Jacksonville should be outraged!”
Morton added a “call for an immediate retraction and apology from Councilman Dennis and Democrat Chair Lisa King. All of us, regardless of Party, should demand better from our local elected leaders.”
Dennis thus far has not commented. King, however, rejected her Republican counterpart’s contentions.
“More hubris from REC Chairwoman Morton. Figures of speech don’t kill people. Guns do. On a day when 4 Republican members of the Duval Delegation voted to not even allow DEBATE on assault rifles while students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were in attendance, it appears to me that Morton has much more important matters to attend to.”
The language of armed conflict, surprisingly to outsiders, has become a feature of the contretemps between Dennis and Curry.
Weeks back, Dennis claimed a member of the mayor’s senior staff told him he was a “walking dead man.”
In response to that, Dennis got a concealed-weapons permit.
Curry, when asked Wednesday about Dennis’ comments, said that rhetoric notwithstanding, he would “work with any Council member for projects in their district.”
Curry has said on occasions recently that Dennis, in contrast to other Council members, has not lobbied him for district-level projects and priorities.