FORT LAUDERDALE-- Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis responded to former Florida gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum's recent arrest on federal charges stemming during a press conference at Broward Health Medical Center.
Gillum and Florida House District 8 candidate Sharon Lettman-Hicks (D) were indicted on 20 federal counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud charges. Gillum was charged individually for “allegedly lying to the FBI during an interview in June 2017,” according to the Tallahassee Democrat. The final charge brought the total number of counts to 21.
Both Gillum and Lettman-Hicks have pleaded not guilty.
Gillum was elected Mayor of Tallahassee in 2014. He narrowly won the Democratic primary for governor in August 2018, but then lost by just 0.4% point to now Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) in the general election.
On March 13th, 2020, Andrew Gillum was found naked in a Miami hotel room with 2 other men. Methamphetamines were found in the hotel room.
Gillum released a statement later that day:
“"I was in Miami last night for a wedding celebration when first responders were called to assist one of my friends. While I had too much to drink, I want to be clear that I have never used methamphetamines. I apologize to the people of Florida for the distraction this has caused our movement.” On the 15th, Gillum announced that he was entering rehab and was stepping down “from all public facing roles for the foreseeable future.”
After the felony charges were announced, DeSantis was asked by a reporter, “On Andrew Gillum: Do you feel vindicated? Because in 2018, you called him out for being under investigation. You were called a liar and a racist. Do you feel vindicated, sir?”
The governor responded, “I mean, there were clearly a lot of issues there. If you looked under the hood, you saw it. But what was presented to the public was that this guy was like the second coming. I mean, never has a candidate been elevated that way by media outlets, certainly in the last 10 years or so. And I can tell you, if I had not won in 2018, this state would be in a much worse shape.”
For the full question and answer, you can find the governor’s response below:
“If I had not won in 2018, this state would be in a must worse shape, and that’s not even a question,”said @GovRonDeSantis when asked about Andre Gillum’s arrest. #FlPol #Florida pic.twitter.com/bFmj809bNd
— Javier Manjarres (@JavManjarres) June 23, 2022