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President Trump answered multiple questions posed by CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta yesterday—something that rarely happens these days—in the Oval Office.
One question focused on a controversial comment made on Fox News by Florida congressman, Republican nominee for Florida governor and Trump supporter Ron DeSantis. The comment made yesterday morning was in reference to his new opponent in the race to become the next governor of Florida, Democratic nominee Andrew Gillum.
During America’s Newsroom, DeSantis told Florida voters not to “monkey up their decision by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state.”
Gillum is African-American, and the phrase “monkey up” came across to many as a racial slur.
Uh Ron DeSantis just said FL shouldn’t “monkey this up” by electing Andrew Gillum pic.twitter.com/nDPp3Hx7zc
— Steve Morris (@stevemorris__) August 29, 2018
“Yeah, I didn’t hear that, Jim,” Trump told Acosta in the Oval. “I’ve been actually working on the deal with Canada.”
“Is it racist?” Acosta then asked. Trump pivoted to praising DeSantis. “Ron DeSantis is extraordinary,” Trump said.
America’s Newsroom anchor Sandra Smith made a point of addressing DeSantis’ comment after the segment:
We do not condone this language and wanted to make our viewers aware that he has since clarified his statement…Mayor Gillum will be on with Shepard Smith today at 3 p.m.
Gillum made appearances across all of cable news yesterday, including an interview, as Smith said, on Shepard Smith Reporting later that day.
Then in the 5 p.m. hour, Gillum appeared on MTP Daily with Chuck Todd, where the two Floridians also discussed DeSantis’ remarks.
But here’s the transcript from Gillum’s back and forth with Shep Smith:
Gillum: Yeah. that part wasn’t lost on me. it’s very clear that Mr. DeSantis is taking a page directly from the campaign manual of donald trump. but i think he has got another thing coming to him. if he thinks that in today’s day and age Florida voters are going to respond to that level of derision and it what we are trying to offer.
Smith: Was that racist or a figure of speech?
Gillum: Well, in the handbook of Donald Trump, they no longer do whistle calls. They are now using full bull horns.
Smith: That was a bull horn?
Gillum: What I have got say about that is we have to make sure that we stay focused, I think, on the issues that confront everyday people. i’m not going to get in the gutter with DeSantis and Trump. There is enough of that going on. I’m going to try to stay high and talk about what the north star and future is for the state of Florida and people of this state. i think that’s what people want. they are so sick of this divisive politics that have been coming out of Washington and now infiltrated the politics of this state vis-a-vis Ron DeSantis very clear on day one that he is willing to go down to the gutter. in our opinion, we are going to win this race because we are going to stay high and remind Floridians of what the true spirit of the American way is and that’s what I’m going to do as governor, help us reach that high mark as a state so we are a leader again and not a back of the pack state.
Smith: I have got 30 seconds left. what did you say to your kids last night?
Gillum: Oh my gosh. Well, Shep they were with me as we saw the results coming in, and I don’t mind sharing with you that they had zero interest as they rolled in. We just enjoyed each other, loved each other and am so blessed.
Smith: All the best. Thanks for coming on Fox News Channel.