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Sean Shaw: Ron DeSantis ‘monkey’ comment ‘was racist and offensive’

Sean Shaw, the Democratic nominee for Attorney General, on Wednesday added his voice to those condemning GOP gubernatorial hopeful and congressman Ron DeSantis.

On FOX News earlier in the day, DeSantis – who won the Republican primary Tuesday night – commented on his Democratic counterpart, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum.

“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 said during an interview with FOX host Sandra Smith.

DeSantis is white; Gillum is black. Comparing African Americans to apes or monkeys usually is considered disparaging.

“The remark made by Congressman DeSantis was racist and offensive and has no place in our political discourse,” said Shaw, an African American, in a statement.

“We already have a president that uses divisive and hostile language and we do not need Ron DeSantis trying to import that from Washington to Tallahassee,” he added.

“Racism is cancer that must be weeded out. DeSantis should step aside if he cannot find a way to apologize and control the language that comes out of his mouth.”

In a statement, DeSantis campaign spokesman Stephen Lawson said 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. 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.”

Written By

Jim Rosica is the Tallahassee-based Senior Editor for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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