Republicans are going all-in on racism this midterm election cycle. The latest incident came when U.S. Agriculture Secretary and former governor of Georgia, Sonny Perdue, used the racist term “cotton-pickin'” during a Saturday rally in Florida while supporting the GOP gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis, Politico reported.
While talking about what it takes to be a strong governor Perdue told the crowd, “Public policy matters. Leadership matters. And that is why this election is so cotton-pickin’ important to the state of Florida. I hope you all don’t mess it up.”
DeSantis’ Democratic opponent Andrew Gillum has had to fend off similar remarks during the campaign — from President Trump, who tweeted an unsubstantiated claim that Gillum was a “thief,” and from DeSantis himself. During a Fox News appearance back in October, the day after Gillum won the Democratic primary, DeSantis, while speaking about Gillum, told viewers, “The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda.”
When questioned about that comment and race during a gubernatorial debate in October, DeSantis tried to talk around the subject by referring to who he served with while in Iraq, “When I was down-range in Iraq, we worked as a team regardless of race,” DeSantis said.
Gillum did not shy away from what he sees as a concerted effort by his opponent to inject race into the campaign, “He has only continued in the course of his campaign to draw all the attention he can to the color of my skin,” Gillum said. “The truth is, I’ve been black all of my life. So far as I know, I will die black.”
As for Perdue’s use of the term “cotton-pickin’,” a spokesman for DeSantis’ campaign skirted the issue and told Politico, “You would have to ask Governor Perdue about any of his remarks. We were happy to have him in Polk County campaigning with us.”