Ali Velshi spoke to Democratic Pollster and host of Sirius XM's "Make It Plain" Mark Thompson and Andrew Gillum Communications Consultant Michael Hopkins about the racist
dog whistle air horn used by Republican Ron DeSantis on Fox this morning. Neither gentleman minced words about this signaling to racists. Velshi told Thompson that DeSantis is already making excuses that he didn't mean "monkey with" in a way related to race. Is that even possible, Mark Thompson?
MARK THOMPSON: In the environment in which I live as an African-American, that's not something that's normally said. I don't know -- I don't know anybody who says that frankly. Maybe I'm divorced from that. But look, it's not a dog whistle. When you say monkey in reference to an African-American, he might as just as well said the n-word. Donald Trump needs to condemn this.
Desantis needs to immediately apologize or drop out of the race. This is absolutely racist. If he gets away with it this time, he's going to continue to do it. They did it to do the Obamas, referring to them as primates, and now he's going to do it to Andrew Gillum.
The thing of it is, and this is really unfortunate because history was made yesterday. Yesterday is a sacred day in African-American history. August 28, 1955, Emmett Till. 1963 the great March on Washington. 2008, Barack Obama, the first African-American to accept the nomination for president. Just yesterday, August 28th, the Queen of Soul lay in state. And Andrew Gillum, August 28th, 2018, is nominated to be the governor of the state of Florida. A great source of pride. He wasn't expected to win.
So to come out less than 24 hours later and use the term "monkey" in reference to an African-American, I'm not fooled by this at all. I know exactly what DeSantis meant and every African-American does in Florida and I'm sure many white voters know that. He ought to be condemned by the president and ought to apologize and maybe even step out of the race.
ALI VELSHI: Michael, you said if that's what he said, if he says it all the time, he should stop saying it. Do you accept the fact that he may not have meant this in a racist way?
MICHAEL HOPKINS (Andrew Gillum Campaign): No, absolutely not. He knew where he was when he said it. He knew the audience he was talking to. Just to build on the previous guest's point, I was at the victory party last night for Shawn Shaw, the first black attorney general nominee for the Democratic party in Florida's history. One of the things that I heard people talk about is how quickly this race was going to turn racial because of Donald Trump and because of his rhetoric. It's not even 12 hours after the race was called that now we're hearing racist language being echoed by DeSantis. We're seeing Trump attack Gillum on Twitter. This is just beneath the American spirit. This is not what we're about. I'm sick and tired of it honestly. I'm sick and tired of people using racist language and gaslighting us and telling us it's not racist.