President Donald Trump said Monday that Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum is a ‘thief’ in a tweet that suggested there are deep corruption issues in the Tallahassee mayor’s office.
Trump didn’t say what exactly the Democrat squaring off next Tuesday against Ron DeSantis stole, but may have been hinting at a scandal involving free tickets to ‘Hamilton’ that Gillum was revealed to have been caught up in this month.
‘In Florida there is a choice between a Harvard/Yale educated man named @RonDeSantisFL who has been a great Congressman and will be a great Governor – and a Dem who is a thief and who is Mayor of poorly run Tallahassee, said to be one of the most corrupt cities in the Country!’ the president tweeted.
The president is traveling to Florida this week to campaign for DeSantis, a Republican congressman who resigned to have more time to campaign for governor, in the final push ahead of the Nov. 6 elections. The state’s sitting governor, Republican Rick Scott, is seeking the U.S. Senate seat on the Sunshine State’s ballot.
Gillum is about by an average of 3.2 points in the governor’s race, and every recent poll has him ahead.
Former President Barack Obama is campaigning for the Florida mayor – who would be the first black governor in the state’s history – and sitting Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson on the Sunday before the election in Miami.
Trump has a rally in Fort Myers on Oct. 31 and could return over the weekend.
The race between Gillum and DeSantis has been ugly, with the former congressman coming under fire for saying that his black opponent would ‘monkey this up’ if elected. He says the comment was not intended to be racist.
Gillum has been the subject of explicitly racist robocalls, though, that were paid for by a white supremacist group operating out of Idaho.
‘Well hello there. I is the negro Andrew Gillum and I’ll be askin’ you to make me governor of this here state of Florida,’ the voice on the call says. ‘My state opponent, who done call me monkey, is doin’ a lot of hollerin’ about how ‘spensive my plans for health care be.’
The mayor’s campaign has decried the robocalls as ‘abhorrent’ and said that they are ‘a continuation of the ugliest, most divisive campaign in Florida’s history.’
Gillum has meanwhile faced claims that he violated gift laws. Documents released this month revealed that he accepted ‘Hamilton’ tickets from an undercover FBI agent conducting a sting operation.
DeSantis bashed Gillum for the alleged violation in a televised debate.
‘The question is, did you pay for the ‘Hamilton’ ticket, or did the undercover FBI agent pay for the ‘Hamilton’ ticket?’ DeSantis asked him.
Gillum says he didn’t understand that he was accepting a ‘gift’ that could be prohibited under the law.
‘I didn’t take free trips from anybody,’ Gillum shot back, without answering directly. ‘I’m a hardworking person. I know that may not fit your description of what you think people like me do. But I’ve worked hard for everything that I’ve gotten in my life, and I don’t need anybody handing me anything for free.’
Gillum told NBC that when he arrived at the theater, his brother handed him the ticket.
‘The idea that I accepted a gift never came to me. What I’ve tried to do throughout this whole process is be as open and transparent as I possibly can be. I understand that my opponent is attempting as best he can to muddy the waters here.’