“Don’t monkey this up!”

Ministers ask for apology from Congressman Ronald Desantis

Rev. R.B. Holmes Jr., addressed the crowd asking for an apology from Congressman Ronald Desantis along with other ministers. Photo special to the Outlook

By Linda T. Fortenberry, PhD
Special to the Outlook

Local ministers and faith leaders held a press conference Friday, Aug. 31, at the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Tallahassee, FL. The purpose of the press conference was to put the state and nation on notice that the Florida gubernatorial campaign will be one of integrity and what is best for all Floridians. Additionally, local faith leaders expressed serious concerns over the remarks given by Congressman Ronald Desantis immediately following Mayor Andrew Gillum’s victory as the winner of Florida’s Democratic primary for governor. The historic victory makes Andrew Gillum the first African American candidate for governor in the state of Florida. His republican opponent, Congressman Ronald Desantis, wasted no time in characterizing the upcoming election by stating in a Fox News interview the day after the Aug. 28, , primary, that Florida voters shouldn’t “monkey this up” by embracing the “socialist” agenda of Democratic nominee Gillum. Reverend Dr. RB Holmes, pastor of the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church and president of the Tallahassee chapter of the National Action Network delivered the following statement at the press conference.

“This press conference is not about race baiting, nor calling anyone a racist. We have called this press conference to encourage candidates to run a campaign based on values, vision, and ideas. The term ‘monkey’ is offensive to many voters. We understand Congressman Desantis was not calling Mayor Gillum a monkey. I guess he was using this term in reference to Mayor Gillum’s policies.

This is the challenge. Mayor Gillum’s policies did not originate from the animal kingdom, but from a thorough, comprehensive analysis as it relates to his perspectives for the state of Florida. Furthermore, the term ‘monkey’ from our vantage point, is highly offensive and has historically been used in a very derogatory context. This is why we are asking Congressman Desantis to understand his terminology has offended many people across the state of Florida. I hope that he will understand our appeal and concern. It is time that we bring this state together in the spirit of harmony, unity, and peace.”