The embattled Democratic candidate for Governor of Florida, Andrew Gillum, is turning to a worn trope to explain his growing corruption scandal: racism by Republicans.
The Republicans obviously want to distract, want to suggest– all along on the trail they’ve wanted the people of this state to believe somehow I haven’t deserved what I’ve gotten, I’m unethical, participated in illegal and illicit activity. I mean, you name it,” fumed Gillum, who is African-American, in a video posted to Facebook Live.
“The goal is obviously to use my candidacy as a way to reinforce, frankly, stereotypes about black men,” he added.
“[Floridians] are sick of racist attacks, we’re sick of bigoted attacks, we’re sick of divisive language and strategy,” he continued. “We don’t want a Donald Trump look-a-like, we don’t want a Donald Trump act-a-like.”
Gillum, who currently serves as mayor of Tallahassee, has been accused of a widespread corruption–namely, whether he accepted favors from lobbyists and gifts from undercover agents.
Though rumors of corruption had dogged Gillum’s campaign, a new trove of private emails and text messages released by a former friend on Tuesday sparked the latest uproar.
Notably, the texts show that Gillum thought he was receiving tickets to the Broadway show “Hamilton” from a developer named Mike Miller–who was really an undercover FBI agent investigating Gillum. Knowingly accepting the tickets as a bribe would be a crime. Gillum had publicly claimed that he received the tickets from his brother.
“Of course he lied,” said Gillum’s Republican opponent, Ron DeSantis. “More will come out.”