A white supremacist website in Idaho is sending out an extremely racist robocall against Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum.
Voters in Florida received the robocall on Tuesday, and HuffPost obtained audio of the recording. Speaking in an exaggerated minstrel dialect, an actor pretends to be Gillum, saying: “Well hello there. I is the Negro Andrew Gillum, and I be asking you to make me governor of this here state of Florida.”
Minstrel music plays in the background, and a monkey screeches occasionally to refer to Gillum, who is the mayor of Tallahassee.
The ad says Gillum’s health care plan will be quite cheap, because he’ll just give chicken feet to people as medicine. It talks about how Jewish people are going to vote for him, because Jews are “the ones that been putting Negroes in charge over the white folk, just like they done after the Civil War.”
HuffPost reader Rusty Gordon noted that the music in the background of the ad appears to be from “Amos ‘n’ Andy,” the controversial ― and popular ― radio and television show that relied on racial stereotypes.
At the end of the robocall, a disclaimer says it was paid for by The Road To Power, a white supremacist website and podcast based in Idaho that sent out a similar call against Gillum in August, when he was running in the Democratic primary. The group has been linked to racist robocalls in Virginia, Oregon, California, Idaho, Iowa and Pennsylvania.
In early September, after the group’s earlier call, Gillum said he wants “to make sure that we don’t racialize, and, frankly, weaponize, race as a part of this process.”
The Anti-Defamation League notes that Scott Rhodes, the man behind Road to Power, is a white supremacist who “achieved local notoriety in late 2017 when police linked him to the distribution of white supremacist propaganda at Sandpoint (Idaho) High School, harassment of a Sandpoint resident, and threatening, anti-Semitic calls that included recordings of Hitler.”
“These disgusting, abhorrent robocalls represent a continuation of the ugliest, most divisive campaign in Florida’s history,” Geoff Burgan, a spokesman for Gillum, said Tuesday. “We would hope that these calls, and the dangerous people who are behind them, are not given any more attention than they already have been.”
Gillum, who would be Florida’s first black governor if elected, has faced racist comments and dog whistles throughout his campaign. The morning after the primaries, former Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) ― Gillum’s opponent ― went on TV and warned voters not to “monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state.”
“Our campaign has absolutely nothing to do with this robocall and joins those in condemning it,” DeSantis spokesman Stephen Lawson said Tuesday. “In fact, we would encourage the Gillum campaign to join us in rooting out and exposing once and for all those who are behind this disgusting call.”
Even Idaho officials ― Gov. C. L. “Butch” Otter (R) and Boise Mayor David Bieter (D) chimed in against The Road To Power on Tuesday, saying this “kind of bigotry will not be tolerated in Idaho.”
This story has been updated with comment from DeSantis’ campaign and Idaho officials, and more information about the music in the robocall.
Correction: This piece originally referred to DeSantis as a congressman. He resigned last month.
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