One of the most exclusive clubs in America consists of black conservatives who are all in for Donald Trump. The standards for getting in are comically low. Among other things, you have to be willing to deliberately stick your head in the sand whenever Trump or any other Republican blows a blatantly racist dog whistle.
We got another example of this on Wednesday, when the newly minted Republican nominee for governor of Florida got the bright idea to blow a dog whistle into a megaphone while attacking his Democratic counterpart–who happens to be black. At least three high-profile black Trump supporters think the ensuing furor is a lot of fuss over nothing.
On Tuesday night, Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum scored a shocking upset by winning the Democratic nomination for governor. Gillum was given virtually no chance in the primary, in part due to being dramatically outspent. Despite this, he nosed out the early favorite, former Congresswoman Gwen Graham, by just over 44,600 votes. In so doing, he became the first black major-party gubernatorial nominee in the Sunshine State’s history.
Gillum will face Republican Congressman Ron DeSantis in November. DeSantis, who represents a crimson-red district stretching from the southern Jacksonville suburbs to Daytona Beach, is a tea partier from central casting who is running with the White House’s full endorsement. So we already knew this campaign was going to be a back-alley brawl.
But it literally took just hours for this campaign to go off the rails. DeSantis dropped by “Fox & Friends” on Wednesday morning and took a swipe at Gillum that devolved into a racist dog whistle. Watch a clip here, courtesy WFOR-TV in Miami.
Gillum was an ardent Bernie Sanders supporter in the 2016 Democratic primary, and had easily the most liberal profile of the major candidates in the gubernatorial primary. To DeSantis’ mind, it was a recipe for disaster.
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 our state.
The outrage came fast and hard, with many rightly seeing this as a blatant racist swipe at Florida’s first black gubernatorial candidate.
DeSantis tried to dig his way out by saying he was only urging Floridians to reject Gillum’s “socialist policies.” Tellingly, his original remarks were too much even for Fox News. In a statement, Fox News said in no uncertain terms, “We do not condone this language.”
Gillum responded on an unexpected venue–Fox News. Specifically, via an interview with Shepard Smith. Watch here.
As Gillum saw it, this dog whistle was “a page directly from the campaign manual of Donald Trump.” He vowed, however, that he was not going to “get into the gutter” with DeSantis because he believed Floridians were “sick” of such pigweed.
You would think that politicians and pundits of all shades would agree that this has no place in our politics. But black conservative pastor and unabashed Trump supporter Jesse Lee Peterson let it be known that he was outraged at the outrage over DeSantis’ remarks.
Hmmm, does that mean that the Murdochs are “beta males”? Remember, this was too much even for Fox News.
Apparently Diamond and Silk, the Trump-supporting sisters from North Carolina, were of the same mind as Peterson.
Except that calling out this dog whistle isn’t just playing the race card. Author and CNN commentator Keith Boykin tried to find other instances of someone claiming that their opponent was going to “monkey this up” if elected–and literally couldn’t find any.
So there you have it, folks. In the absence of something we haven’t seen, DeSantis had no qualms about blowing a racist dog whistle. And some of Trump’s loudest black supporters think that you’re a “beta male” who is “playing the race card” if you call it out. Lovely.
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