Andrew Gillum is poised to become the very first black governor in the history of Florida after a stunning primary win on Tuesday night, and Republicans are not happy about it. Specifically, the leader of the Republican Party — Donald Trump — isn’t happy. Plenty of conjectures can be made about whether this specific race has to do with, well, race, but Trump was at least cognizant enough of the candidates in the Florida gubernatorial race to call the Tallahassee Mayor out by name in a tweet:
Not only did Congressman Ron DeSantis easily win the Republican Primary, but his opponent in November is his biggest dream….a failed Socialist Mayor named Andrew Gillum who has allowed crime & many other problems to flourish in his city. This is not what Florida wants or needs!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 29, 2018
But Gillum knew what was up with Trump’s tweet. Trying to call out a black city leader who’s been successful is impossible without resorting to the same racist tactics that Republicans have been using for years, and that means scaring voters with the word “crime.”
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The problem with Trump’s argument isn’t just that he’s attempting to tie the black mayor to the crime rate in a ham-handed dogwhistle to his racist base — it’s that he’s flat-out wrong about crime in Tallahassee.
Gillum, a Democrat who ran to the left of the other candidates and was outspent by them by fifteen times as much money collectively, will be the first to admit that Leon County’s crime rate is still high, the highest in the state by some measures. But according to FBI crime statistics and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the crime rate went down by more than 15 percent under Gillum’s watch. He’s proud of that fact:
Crime in Tallahassee is at its lowest level since 2013, and our city continues to get safer every day. We will maintain a focus on investing in our human services, ensuring good jobs are available in our community, and providing our police officers with the resources they need to fight crime and continue this positive momentum.”
In the meantime, Gillum told Donald Trump to say it to his face next time:
— Andrew Gillum (@AndrewGillum) August 29, 2018
Featured image via screen capture