Campaign officials for Ron DeSantis, who is running for Florida governor may be denouncing donations from racists publicly, but behind the scenes, he doesn’t plan to return any of their checks.
Thursday, the republican U.S. Rep. said he would no longer accept money from a donor who used the N-word in a tweet about former President Barack Obama, but then in the next breath, he admitted that contributions the donor’s company already made to him won’t be returned.
The reason? He already spent the money on the primary.
A Democratic party-affiliated group named American Bridge provided a screen shot of Alembik’s tweet, in which he used profanity to describe Obama as a Muslim N-word.
“We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: we adamantly denounce this sort of disgusting rhetoric,”campaign spokesman Stephen Lawson.
Keeping the Cash
But Lawson explained that even though they don’t agree with racism, funds DeSantis took from Steven Alembik’s company, SMA Communications, was spent ahead of the Aug. 28 primary and therefore can’t be sent back.
SMA Communications’ website lists Ron Desantis’ campaign as a client, but DeSantis’ campaign said that they have not contracted with SMA, and haven’t taken a penny from Alembik or SMA since DeSantis secured the GOP nomination to replace Republican Gov. Rick Scott.
“He is in no way a vendor for us. He’s never done any work for us. Period,” Lawson said.
Skeptics are finding it hard to believe that DeSantis isn’t still in cahoots with racially biased donors in his fight against Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who is hoping to become Florida’s first black governor. This is most notably because the day after the primary, DeSantis himself said Florida voters shouldn’t “monkey this up” by supporting Gillum.
Democrats immediately criticized the comment as a thinly veiled racist attack and even Fox News had to issue an apology about the statements.
“It is up to Congressman DeSantis to explain to Floridians why he has chosen to associate himself with right wing extremist groups and divisive individuals who want to pit us against one another,” the Gillum campaign said in an email to an NBC affiliate.
Black Republicans Defend Alembik
Sean Jackson, chairman of the Black Republicans of South Florida, was authorized to speak to press on behalf of Alembik and insists he isn’t a racist and that he has a “plethora of Black friends.”
“All of it is false, all of it is incorrect and all of it is a flat out lie,” Jackson said.
He added that Alembik is Jewish, and he said he doesn’t “know too many racist Jews” because “they went through the same thing” as African-Americans.
Jackson insists that Alembik’s own tweet, “has no relevance and it does not speak to the character of this man.”
DeSantis is running against Democratic challenger Andrew Gillum, who will be Florida’s first Black governor if he wins November’s general election.