A white supremacist group in Florida is making robocalls impersonating Andrew Gillum after the Tallahassee mayor won the Democratic nomination in the governor’s race.
Gillum stands a chance at becoming the state’s first black chief executive, but Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis warned Florida voters to not “monkey this up” by electing the first black governor of the state.
The robocalls say they were paid for by a neo-Nazi group in Idaho going out to voters in Tallahassee. According to CNN, the automated calls are narrated by someone pretending to be Gillum and using minstrel dialect over jungle noises.
The outlet noted that the calls end with a disclaimer that they were funded by The Road to Power, an anti-Semitic, white supremacist website, and podcast linked to Scott Rhodes of Sandpoint, Idaho. The group has also been linked robocall campaigns in Charlottesville, Virginia, Oregon and California.
Geoff Burgan, communications director for Gillum’s campaign, responded by saying, “This is reprehensible — and could only have come from someone with intentions to fuel hatred and seek publicity. Please don’t give it undeserved attention.”
Earlier this week, robocalls from The Road to Power were going out using the death of University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts, 18, to promote white supremacy because the suspect in her death is said to be an undocumented immigrant from Mexico.
“This is absolutely appalling and disgusting — and hopefully whoever is behind this has to answer for this despicable action,” DeSantis communications director Stephen Lawson said. “Our campaign has and will continue to focus solely on the issues that Floridians care about and uniting our state as we continue to build on our success.”
DeSantis faced harsh criticism for saying during a Fox News appearance that voters should not “monkey this up” by electing Gillum the day after he won the Republican primary for governor. But his campaign said the comments had nothing to do with race.
“Ron 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,” said Lawson.
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