The list of potential criminal activity continues to mount against Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum. He has yet to clear himself of a Costa Rican trip possibly purchased by a lobbyist, he's been accused of using government services for efforts connected to his campaign, an FBI undercover sting has him receiving favors, and he used campaign funds to pay for his personal legal fees connected to the campaign infraction.
Now a new accusation has surfaced. Subpoenaed documents received this week show Gillum again misappropriated government funds for his personal use. In a private flight he commissioned to St. Petersburg to meet with potential campaign donors, the flight was paid from the expense account of the Mayor’s Office.
Following this revelation, Gillum appeared on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and resorted to his now-standard default position: Whenever anybody mentions my illicit activities, hit the racist button.
This time he did more than dredge up the usual talking-point accusations he has repeated during the campaign (while constantly insisting he does not want race to be a campaign issue). Gillum went so far as to lie about his opponent supporting slavery.
Gillum declared that in his opponent Ron DeSantis’ book, “Dreams From Our Founding Fathers: First Principles in the Age of Obama,” the congressman had a controversial stance. “He authored a book justifying slavery,” Gillum told the host.
He provides no proof of this wild claim. Instead, he is merely parroting an article from the Miami New Times that misstates DeSantis’ words.
DeSantis' communications director Stephen Lawson responded to the accusation. “The book explains what historians say, he does not defend anything. In fact, he lauds Thurgood Marshall for his legal offensive against racial segregation and even says how not abolishing slavery in the constitution was a failure." But Gillum’s statement was not made for those likely to crack open the book in question. The accusation is enough, proof need not be provided.
This is Gillum’s pattern; when confronted with the details of his alleged wrongdoing, he elects to distract away from the charge. His usual go-to in these cases is an attack on DeSantis, using the accusation of racism as his weapon. He has answered this way in numerous news channel appearances, and he did so again during the gubernatorial debate.
Gillum even addressed the charges in a Facebook live video he loaded to his campaign page. “The goal is obviously to use my candidacy as a way to reinforce, frankly, stereotypes about black men,” he says to the camera.
Are we supposed to believe, then, that the FBI is racist for the investigation that led that landed Gillum in the unreported-gifts soup? And the Florida Commission on Ethics is clearly racist for discovering his use of Mayor’s Office funds for his personal campaign. And Ron DeSantis obviously is a racist for things he did not write in his book.
This certainly points to a pattern of behavior. That of a single man, with a single defense at the ready whenever mention of his improprieties is made.
Brad Slager, a Fort Lauderdale freelance writer, wrote this story exclusively for Sunshine State News. He writes on politics and the entertainment industry and his stories appear in such publications as RedState and The Federalist.
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