Andrew Gillum, Democratic candidate for governor, told an Orlando crowd Saturday that President Donald Trump fearfully avoids him on social media.
“The president is real savvy on his Twitter feed. He tends to talk about me in Montana and other places,” Gillum said. “But he’s unfortunately a little cowardly. He won’t @ me, y’all.”
Indeed, the only time Trump has mentioned Gillum via Twitter came when he congratulated Republican gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis for winning Florida’s GOP primary. Then, Trump called Gillum a “Socialist Mayor” who let crime flourish in Tallahassee. But he failed to use Gillum’s Twitter handle, @AndrewGillum, which would have sent a notification to the Democratic candidate.
Not only did Congressman Ron DeSantis easily win the Republican Primary, but his opponent in November is his biggest dream….a failed Socialist Mayor named Andrew Gillum who has allowed crime & many other problems to flourish in his city. This is not what Florida wants or needs!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 29, 2018
Regardless, Gillum did see the tweet, and he (or campaign team members managing his Twitter account) offered a response 13 minutes after Trump’s original post that did employ the president’s favored handle.
— Andrew Gillum (@AndrewGillum) August 29, 2018
Republican National Committee officials, for their part, say Trump had Gillum pegged, and said an FBI investigation of the Tallahassee mayor would bear that out.
“President Trump was correct when he called Gillum a ‘failed socialist mayor,’” said Taryn Fenske, RNC spokesperson.
Fenske alleged the FBI investigation would determine Gillum used his office for personal gain in accepting gifts from undercover agents and awarding lucrative contracts to his campaign treasurer. The Gillum campaign maintains the candidate is not the subject of the investigation but his critics have hammered him on an incomplete release of receipts.
“Gilllum has no idea how to run the city of Tallahassee, let alone the entire state of Florida,” Fenske said.
Trump came up Saturday at a Gillum’s official campaign kickoff, which drew about 1,200 people the Orlando Downtown Recreation Center to hear he and running mate Chris King, as well as U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, rally supporters around the Democratic ticket’s message of restoring dignity to Florida’s working class.
In Gillum’s speech, he spoke more often about Trump and outgoing Gov. Rick Scott, now the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, than he did of DeSantis.
But he did mention his Republic opponent in an effort to tie him more directly to the president.
“Ron DeSantis wants to call names. He wants to divide,” Gillum said. “He wants to return to the politics of Donald Trump. But on Nov. 6, Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump, they have another thing coming.”
While Gillum won the nomination largely through winning strong Florida’s major cities, he told supporters in Orlando he planned to campaign everywhere in the state leading up to the general election.
He referenced a primary visit to The Villages, a Republican bastion, where he said around 500 people showed up. “Almost none of them with a face that looked like mine, but that’s okay,” said Gillum, the first black Democratic nominee for governor.
The event, he said, turned into a small-donation fundraiser and his campaign pulled in about $6,000.
In terms of succeeding Scott in the governor’s mansion, DeSantis said he would accept money to expand Medicaid and any federal grants for high-speed rail, money he said Florida turned down because of a dislike of ObamaCare and the Obama stimulus.
He also promised to trust scientists on climate change and global warming.
But in an apparent pushback on that ‘socialist’ label from Trump and others, he also stressed the importance of business owners getting access to capital and promised to make Florida a leader in innovation in the nation.
See Gillum’s full speech here: