Even if you think Republican Ron DeSantis did not intentionally blow a racial dog when he warned that African American opponent Andrew Gillum might “monkey this up,” there’s no excuse for Fox News host Sandra Smith’s response. She claimed not to “condone” such language despite doing exactly that.
In case you missed it, here’s what Florida's Republican gubernatorial candidate DeSantis said today on America’s Newsroom:
DESANTIS: Florida elections are always competitive. And this is a guy who, although he’s much too liberal for Florida - I think he’s got huge problems with how he’s governed Tallahassee - he is an articulate spokesman for those far-left views, and he’s a charismatic candidate. I watched those Democrat debates and none of that was my cup of tea but, I mean, he performed better than the other people there. So we’ve got to work hard to make sure that we continue Florida going in a good direction. Let’s build off the success we’ve had on Governor Scott. 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 the state.
I cannot determine whether DeSantis intended to blow a dog whistle. But even if it was inadvertent, the road to you-know-where is paved with good intentions and as far as I’m concerned, he belongs there. He’s not just a fanatic Trump supporter but one of the leading members of the Cover-up Caucus in Congress. It’s hard for me to believe that anyone could love Trump that much and not be a racist. Furthermore, shortly before the “monkey” comment, DeSantis praised Gillum as “articulate” as if that were noteworthy. Two “accidental” dog whistles start to look like a trend. And let’s not forget that DeSantis described progressive candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as a girl “or whatever she is.”
But let’s just say, for argument’s sake, that DeSantis was tired and merely spoke inelegantly. What’s Smith’s excuse? She acted as though he said nothing noteworthy, much less challengeable. As soon as he finished his now-infamous remarks, she moved immediately to the next question, asking to what DeSantis attributed Gillum’s surprise win.
So it wasn’t a huge surprise that when Smith later read DeSantis’ “clarification,” she offered no apology for her own role in normalizing the remarks. In fact, she continued to do so as she claimed that “some are calling” his remark inappropriate. That clearly signaled it was a matter of debate. She also said, “We do not condone this language,” without telling viewers what DeSantis had said.
SMITH: A little while ago we had Ron DeSantis, the Republican nominee for governor in Florida, on for an interview to discuss the Florida election. During the interview he made what some are calling an inappropriate comment about his Democratic opponent, Andrew Gillum. DeSantis has since clarified his comment in a statement, saying quote, “Ron DeSantis was obviously talking about Florida not making the wrong decision to embrace the socialist policies that Andrew Gillum espouses. To characterize it as anything else is absurd. Florida’s economy has been on the move for the last eight years and the last thing we need is a far-left Democrat trying to stop our success.”
We do not condone this language and wanted to make our viewers aware that he has since clarified his statement. Also Mayor Gillum will be on with Shepard Smith today at 3:00 pm.
I'm sorry, Sandra, but by acting as though DeSantis said nothing extraordinary, characterizing the remarks as only possibly inappropriate, then refusing to reveal what he had said to any viewers who might have tuned in late, condoning is exactly what you and Fox News did.
Watch Fox’s own monkeying up below, from the August 29, 2018 America’s Newsroom:
Smith’s reaction – or lack of one – tells a story as well. Calling an African-American a “monkey” is obviously nothing extraordinary to her any more than reflexively smearing a Democrat as a “Socialist”. This is more than just being tone deaf, IMHO, it speaks volumes on her view on race. It might be unfair to broaden this criticism to others but my belief is this is a widespread attitude in Trumpland. You wonder what DeSantis would have had to say smearing a black with a racial stereotype to get a reaction out of her.
DeSantis has apologized so we move on, I suppose. To do otherwise will only make DeSantis a victim of ‘political correctness’ in the eyes of his base and only make them more apt to vote. However, the era of Trump, the leader of the white identity movement, has sent America back decades in race relations and makes me very pessimistic over the future of America.