Gillum and DeSantis quarrel over Trump, race

Republican Ron DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum squared off on a number of key issues, including President Trump, race, and the environment, during a debate in Tampa as each candidate vies to be the next governor of Florida.

Posted: Oct 23, 2018 4:50 AM
Updated: Oct 23, 2018 5:09 AM

Former GOP Rep. Ron DeSantis and his Democratic challenger in the Florida gubernatorial race, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, offered starkly different takes Sunday on whether President Donald Trump is a good role model for children.

At a CNN debate moderated by Jake Tapper, DeSantis, a former member of the House of Representatives and a Trump supporter, was asked if he considered the President a good role model for children in light of a campaign ad that featured him reading Trump's "The Art of the Deal" to his son. DeSantis wrote the ad off as a joke, saying that the book isn't necessarily his son's "cup of tea."

Instead, he said, the President's fulfillment of a key campaign promise demonstrates his ability to be a good role model.

"Every president for 25 years has promised that on the campaign trail," he said of Trump moving the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. "Once in office, they didn't do it. Donald Trump promised it, and he followed through with it. And so to me, when you give your word, and you follow through with it as an elected official, that is the model that we're supposed to do."

"He was right to move the embassy to Jerusalem ... to me, that was true leadership," he told Tapper.

Gillum, who has called for the impeachment of Trump, appeared to be amused by the question.

"I'm confused by the question," he said to Tapper with a puzzled face.

"The question was whether or not he thinks President Trump is a good role model for the children of Florida."

"Oh, that's what I thought. Originally I got confused," he said, laughing along with members of the audience.

"So, no, he's not. Donald Trump is weak. And he performs as all weak people do," Gillum said. "They become bullies. And Mr. DeSantis is his acolyte. He's trying out to be the Trump apprentice."

Gillum said that if he were elected, his opinions on the President wouldn't impact a decision to accept federal funds for the state.

DeSantis also said that he would work with Trump if he were elected.

"I'm not going to be involved in the Washington food fight anymore. I've been there, done that, got the T-shirt," he said. "But I think I will be better positioned to advance Florida's priorities because I have a productive relationship with the administration."

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