Laura Ingraham isn’t letting a little thing like claiming she’s not a racist keep her from continuing to act like one, at least not in the service of rehabbing Trumper Ron DeSantis after he warned voters not to let African American Andrew Gillum “monkey up” Florida.
On her radio show today, Media Matters caught Ingraham playing the white, racial victim after many took offense at DeSantis’ warning that African American opponent Andrew Gillum would “monkey this up” if he got elected Florida’s governor in November. In the same comments, DeSantis had suggested it was remarkable that Gillum is “articulate.”
In both clips below, Ingraham more overtly stated what DeSantis hinted on the Hannity show last night: that African Americans are the racial villains for criticizing his remarks. She took it a step further by arguing that whites are the real race victims because it's asking too much not to be offensive:
INGRAHAM: Well, apparently, apparently if you’re white, you just can’t criticize an opponent at all. If you criticize an opponent, you have to just—every word you have to stop after you say every word, or before you say any word, and think, “OK, how will this be twisted by someone who is trying to avoid a real debate on the issues?” It’s ridiculous.
In the second clip, Ingraham urged DeSantis to go on offense as a racial victim. And DeSantis seemed to agree with her.
INGRAHAM: You know what I’d do? I’d demand an apology of him. That’s what I would do. “You want me to apologize? You apologize for falsely accusing someone of racism to avoid a debate on the issues.” I’d turn it right around on them. “You should apologize because it’s pathetic to try to turn this into some kind of racial litmus test.” By the way, Obama’s used the phrase “monkeying around” himself, so, back in 2008.
RON DESANTIS: Yeah, look, and Laura, I had people from college texting me saying, “Yeah, I remember you used to say that.”
In the first place, DeSantis did not say, “monkeying around,” he said “monkey this up.” The phrase “monkeying around” means “to do things that are not useful or serious : to waste time,” as per Merriam-Webster. When DeSantis said “monkey this up” he was referring specifically to Gillum ruining the supposed successes of Florida’s current (Republican) governor.
Second, although DeSantis’ spokesman reportedly said he uses the “monkey it up” term “’frequently’ to express something that was messed up or not done right,” the only example DeSantis cited above was “people from college.” DeSantis is nearly 40 years old and has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2013. Presumably, he graduated from college more than a decade ago and has made many, many public remarks and speeches since.
Yet Media Matters did a thorough search and could find “no record of DeSantis having used the phrase publicly, according to a Nexis search of media appearances and an examination of Twitter.”
But more importantly, as I wrote in a previous post, DeSantis’ refusal to apologize is not just a big middle finger to African Americans, it’s a dog-whistling appeal to white, racist Trumpers. Any candidate interested in appealing to African Americans would have acknowledged the impact of his comments and apologized for a poor choice of words. The fact that DeSantis won’t – and is suggesting that those who took offense are in the wrong – speaks volumes.
Ingraham couldn’t seem more enthusiastic at the prospect of more of the same from him.
(Ingraham image via screen grab)
And yes, the statement was intentionally, viciously racist. He’s practically daring people to call him on his bigotry, and then coyly playing the “Oh, did I say THAT?” card. Of course he meant it. The point was to show the deplorables that he’s one of them. He’s pulling the Trump move of emboldening outright bigotry and viciousness, which will of course encourage more of the deplorables to echo his behavior in their own lives.
As I’ve noted before, when this miserable epoch of our history is finished, the Right Wing and the Trump base will not be able to walk back their statements and actions. They will not be able to come back to the adults’ table to say “Gee, I didn’t really mean that” or “Gee, I didn’t know what those guys were doing” or “Can’t we just let bygones be bygones”. They’ll have to own their bigotry and enjoy the badge of shame they’ve earned for the rest of their lives.
Taking a page from Trump’s playbook and stirring up a media-grabbing controversy will generate even more exposure. And don’t think being accused of being a “racist” will harm him. No, it’ll be a badge of honor with his aggrieved white base who’ll paint him as a victim of political correctness.