Matt Gaetz labels Andrew Gillum ‘Andrew Kill’em’; Democrats decry attack
Matt Gaetz with Ron DeSantis. Image by Jacob Ogles.

Gaetz DeSantis

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz criticized Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum for overseeing a rise in crime as mayor of Tallahassee.

“I don’t know whether to call him Andrew Gillum or ‘Andrew Kill-‘em,’ ” Gaetz said.

Gaetz suggested the nickname during a campaign swing through Southwest Florida with Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis on Saturday.

Democrats almost immediately decried the attacks as racially charged.

“Congressmen Gaetz should be ashamed of himself,” said Sean Shaw, Democratic Attorney General candidate. “Language of that type has no place in our state. This is more of the same inappropriate language that has become all too common from Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis.”

Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo similarly criticized the attack.

“Ron DeSantis’ closest political ally, Matt Gaetz, today made a racist and despicable attack on Mayor Andrew Gillum,” Rizzo said. “Ron DeSantis seems intent on exploiting the ugliest and most toxic forces in our society in order to win this election. If DeSantis’ campaign doesn’t stop speaking so irresponsibly, they could destroy the very fabric of our state and cause irreparable harm. Floridians’ safety is literally at risk. Ron DeSantis must immediately condemn this racist attack on Andrew Gillum and stop weaponizing race.”

Gaetz and other DeSantis surrogates lambasted Gillum’s tenure as mayor of Florida’s capital city at a campaign event in Cape Coral on Saturday. It showed DeSantis plans to focus more attention on Tallahassee’s crime as Election Day nears.

The FDLE in May announced crime rates in Leon County had dropped but remained the highest in Florida for the fourth year in a row, according to the Tallahassee Democrat. The bulk of crime in the county happens within Tallahassee.

DeSantis noted the issue himself, capping off a stump speech at the Victory Office before a candidate meet-and-greet.

“Andrew Gillum cannot keep communities safe. It’s part of his ideology,” DeSantis said. The Republican noted Gillum’s calls to abolish ICE, and he said Gillum wanted to make Florida a “sanctuary state.” Notably, when Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam leveled a similar accusation, Politifact rated the state as “half-true.”

Jeannette Nunez, DeSantis’ running mate, said as her child considers what college to attend, the crime rate impacts where she wants her son going to school.

“The safety and security of a city like Tallahassee weigh in on that decision,” she said. “Why would I want to send my child to the murder capital of Florida?”

Gaetz said weak immigration policy from Gillum would worsen things for all of Florida.

“Andrew Gillum thinks we should abolish ICE and have open borders and have MS-13 on our streets,” Gaetz said.

Candidates als0 dinged Gillum’s own brush with the FBI, an ongoing investigation of corruption in the city. Gillum maintains he is not the subject of the investigation, but DeSantis has noted donors to Gillum have been subpoenaed.

DeSantis called himself the only candidate “who could credibly say he was not under investigation by the FBI.”

And Gaetz tossed another nickname the Democrat’s way.

“Maybe we ought to call him Andrew ‘Guilty,'” Gaetz said.

Democrats, though, said the divisive attacks showed desperation.

“This latest comment proves that Ron DeSantis doesn’t have a plan to move Florida forward,” said Dianne Hart, a Democratic state representative candidate in District 61. “Floridians are tired of DeSantis’ divisive politics and that’s why they’re rallying around Andrew Gillum for Governor — a candidate with a record of putting Florida families first. I look forward to his victory on November 6.”

And state House Democratic Leader Janet Cruz said Gaetz’s comments completely crossed the line.

“The remarks made today by Representative Matt Gaetz are an abomination and have no place in our politics,” Cruz said. “Ron DeSantis should immediately condemn this attack on Andrew Gillum and stop the slash-and-burn tactics that have defined his campaign.

“For the past month, Ron DeSantis and his allies have appeared intent to do whatever they could to divide the people of our state. Our next Governor should be someone who brings Floridians together and runs on a positive vision to lift all of us up. It’s time for DeSantis and his allies to end the name-calling and divisiveness and start treating Florida voters with respect.”

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • Reid Friedson, PhD

    October 6, 2018 at 7:10 pm

    The FBI said Gillum is not the target

    • Domino

      October 6, 2018 at 8:04 pm

      Not an FBI target; THE FBI target.

      • Cf

        October 6, 2018 at 10:07 pm

        Let me know when he has to plead the fifth 75 times and steals billions in taxpayer money like your previous governor and current senatorial candidate. Always funny when the GOP pretends to have standards these days

        • rhemy1

          October 7, 2018 at 12:03 am

          i know, right! They wanted to send Roy Moore to the Senate, and now act like they have any kind of moral compunction.

        • Ray Tampa

          October 7, 2018 at 12:21 am

          Cf, thank you for your thought provoking post. Excellent.

      • Keven

        October 7, 2018 at 12:23 am

        U are rasist go back home with the devile

  • Seber Newsome III

    October 6, 2018 at 7:27 pm

    Gillum will destroy Florida!!!! He is a puppet of George Soros , a SOCIALIST…

  • Cogent Observer

    October 6, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    Gillum, his kind, his ideology, the type of supporters he attracts, and crime. There is a real internal consistency.

    Andy–serve your sentence, learn a skill, work at a real job, and surround yourself with honest people if you know any. Then, there may a genuine reason for people to put their trust in you. Probably not, but maybe.

  • Blanson

    October 6, 2018 at 10:08 pm

    Gillum is the man for Florida at this time.while his opponent is out of touch with reality.

  • mike

    October 7, 2018 at 12:34 am

    I don’t see how Gillum plans to keep his promise as healthcare for every Floridian as a “right”. Raising taxes on corporations will only make them move out of state and when they leave so do the jobs and then that healthcare expense is totally on the taxpayers back.
    I don’t want a state income tax my employer pays for my healthcare why do I need it from the state?? Why do I have to pay for something I can’t use but I’m forced to pay for?

    So the crime rate increases in Tallahassee. Great maybe I will need that additional health insurance cause I have a greater chance of getting mugged it attacked.

    • Girard

      October 7, 2018 at 8:56 am

      Corporations moving out of Florida is ludicrous. The state is a ideal location with low taxes… trumpers are pulling at straws…

  • Ray Tampa

    October 7, 2018 at 12:35 am

    Deranged DeSantis and his ‘sidekick’ Gangster Goetz take turns burying their noses up the azz of the WORLD’S MOST FLAWED President that they can’t find the time to know what’s going on in Florida.

    Deranged DeSantis’ ideas are much more out of the mainstream of Floridians, specifically, and Americans,in general, that he should lose this election by a landslide. He should go ahead and apply for a job with FOX NO-NEWS right now. November 7th is right around the corner.

    • Peter

      October 7, 2018 at 2:21 am

      Not voting for Gillum . If you support him try living in a NYC or California where the cost of living is out of control.

      Socialism is a failure as most social programs are already starting to fail.

      Tax and spend Democrat policy only serves the politicians themselves and 40+ years of failing Democrat ruled cities have shown the Democrat ran cities only end up going bankrupt or piling on unfunded pension liabilities that cause property taxes to skyrocket and rents to go up.

      The whole country is flooded with crime ridden overtaxed with high unemployment.

      Go ahead! Look up every single county Hillary won in 2016 .. all metropolitan areas with high debt and high taxes, the poor awalys being poor and the rich making money off them.

  • Paul Cajka

    October 7, 2018 at 1:23 am

    Gillum is George Soros’ Florida Puppet.

    • Julie S Schrum

      October 7, 2018 at 11:17 am

      How bout u watch something other then fox news do some research think for urself….


    October 7, 2018 at 8:13 am

    Republicans sure have a responsible plan for government… that is why Trump has pushed the red ink in the country’s budget by over 1 TRILLION DOLLARS, AND TO OVER 1/3 OVER THE PREVIOUS budget for the country…..and who they think will have to pay for all that excess??. ..Mexico like their wall???….Over 1/2 the population of the country needs some sort of assistantance to survive month to month, while Republican donors (the 1% they so much love and adore) are awash in tax free cash and dont know what to do to shower more luxuries and wealth on themselves….and they want to tell us things are so good…….Republicans are drunk with power and are destroying everything worth anything in our society, at all levels, and when their irresponsible house of cards finally tumbles, it will be left to the rest of us to pay for their drunken party….and they want to paint themselves like the “responsible and conservative party” …. they have no shame!


    October 7, 2018 at 8:25 am


  • Mark

    October 7, 2018 at 9:50 am

    Where do you get your definition of “RACIST”, the dictionary of the radical liberas. If you are not going to use a commonly recognized definition then state that your articles are narrowly scripted to engage a radical element of Florida voters.

  • Rick

    October 7, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    God kick Satan out heaven now let’s let’s gatez de satan out of Florida.

  • Ken

    October 10, 2018 at 7:40 pm

    how come all liberals sound mentally challenged? Bottom line is. Gilliam will severely cripple law enforcement in fla. and crime will go wild. And he will tax the living hell out of the working man and women. To pay for all his social programs for illegal immigrants. He has said this himself on national tv! I’m not a republican! But I will be dames if I want a fucking socialist slash communist running fla

Comments are closed.


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