South Florida pastors rally behind Gillum, reject DeSantis’ ‘monkey’ remark

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - With Andrew Gillum and Ron DeSantis set to face off to be Florida’s next governor, a group of local pastors are rallying behind the democratic nominee and offering words of wisdom for the republican opponent.

Several pastors gathered outside 93rd Street Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale to voice their thoughts on the governor’s race.

“We as clergy believe that politics is not only a political thing, but it’s a moral thing, and it’s an honorable thing,” said the Rev. Carl Johnson. “The words that came out of Mr. DeSantis mouth were not moral and was not honorable.”

The words Johnson refers to is a controversial statement DeSantis made, saying voters would “monkey this up” if they voted for Gillum.

With DeSantis being white and Gillum being black, the comment was immediately seen as racist.

“We are here to draw a line in the sand,” said the Rev. Joaquin Willis. “This will not be the way we run this campaign in the State of Florida.”

However, DeSantis said the remark was not racist and sought to clear up the misunderstanding.

“What I’m saying is that Florida is going in a good direction,” DeSantis said. “I don’t want to screw it up with bad policies, and it’s really focusing on his policies.”

Gillum is doubtful.

“Mr. DeSantis went immediately to the gutter,” Gillum said. “Again, I thought it was inappropriate. I certainly think he’s shown us very well where he wants to take this race. He’s, I think, staking his race on quite frankly, on following Trump’s playbook.”

This group of pastors agree and is asking the Republican nominee for governor to apologize to the people of Florida and his opponent.

“We believe if he does this, he will show that he is a good faith man when it comes to reconciling and making our state run together on one accord,” Johnson said.

No official apology has been give by DeSantis yet. Gillum has moved on and said he can win the governor’s race by attracting new voters to the polls instead of corralling support from the usual electorate.

The general election will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Copyright 2018 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.