Florida Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Andrew Gillum took aim Monday night at President Trump, accusing him of playing politics as a hurricane barrels down on the state.
Gillum’s comments followed a visit by Trump to Orlando, where he spoke to a gathering of law enforcement officials. While there, the president also talked up the Republican candidate in the governor’s race, Rep. Ron DeSantis, during a television interview and criticized Gillum for his stewardship of Tallahassee, where he’s mayor.
“His opponent runs a place that has a lot of problems, and I know it very well, but it’s got a lot of problems, tremendous corruption, tremendous crime,” Trump told WFTV without mentioning Gillum by name.
Referring to Gillum’s embrace of several liberal policies, Trump later asserted that if he prevails over DeSantis — who has Trump’s strong endorsement — “Florida will become another Venezuela, and that is not good.”
Gillum fired back on Twitter.
“Hey @realDonaldTrump — don’t come to my state and talk trash about my city while we are preparing for a Category 3 hurricane,” he wrote. “We need a partner right now, not a partisan.”
Hurricane Michael is expected to make landfall Wednesday on Florida’s northern Gulf Coast. Forecasters say it is the most serious hurricane threat in the area in more than a decade.
On Tuesday morning, Trump retweed an advisory about the storm from the National Weather Service office in Tallahassee.
The Florida county that includes Tallahassee has the highest crime rate in the state, though the rate has dropped during Gillum’s tenure.
Over the past year, a federal grand jury has been conducting a public corruption investigation in Tallahassee. So far, no one has been charged, and a spokesman for Gillum recently said FBI agents assured the mayor in June 2017 that he was not a “focus” of the probe.
Among the policies Gillum advocates are a single-payer health care system and a $15 per hour minimum wage.