by Chuck Ross
President Donald Trump called Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum a thief Monday, an apparent nod at a corruption investigation that threatens to embroil the Tallahassee mayor.
“In Florida there is a choice between a Harvard/Yale educated man named @RonDeSantisFL who has been a great Congressman and will be a great Governor – and a Dem who is a thief and who is Mayor of poorly run Tallahassee, said to be one of the most corrupt cities in the Country!” Trump wrote on Twitter.
In Florida there is a choice between a Harvard/Yale educated man named @RonDeSantisFL who has been a great Congressman and will be a great Governor – and a Dem who is a thief and who is Mayor of poorly run Tallahassee, said to be one of the most corrupt cities in the Country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 29, 2018
Gillum, a Democrat, has not been convicted or even accused of a crime, including theft. But he has come under scrutiny over gifts he allegedly received in 2016 from an undercover FBI agent posing as a lobbyist seeking business with the city of Tallahassee.
It was reported on Oct. 23 that in 2016, Gillum received tickets to the Broadway musical “Hamilton” from an FBI agent posing as an Atlanta-based lobbyist named Mike Miller.
Gillum and his campaign have claimed that he received the tickets from his brother. But text messages provided to the Florida Ethics Commission showed that Gillum’s friend, a lobbyist named Adam Corey, told him on Aug. 10, 2016, that the tickets were provided by Miller.
Gillum has claimed that he has met with the FBI as part of the investigation, but that he was told he is not a target in the corruption probe.
Gillum responded to the reports earlier in October by accusing Republicans of racism.
“The Republicans obviously want to distract, want to suggest. All along throughout this … they’ve wanted the people of this state to believe somehow I haven’t deserved what I’ve gotten, I’m unethical, participated in illegal and illicit activity. I mean, you name it,” Gillum said in a message to supporters.
“The goal is obviously to use my candidacy as a way to reinforce, frankly, stereotypes about black men.”
Other documents that Corey provided to Florida ethics investigators allegedly showed that Miller covered the food and beverage costs for a political committee supporting Gillum. The committee did not report the contribution on campaign finance reports, The Tampa Bay Times reported Friday.
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Chuck Ross is a reporter for the Daily Caller News Foundation. Follow Chuck on Twitter.
Editor’s note: Later Monday, President Trump reiterated his sentiment in a wide-ranging interview with Laura Ingraham – which you can watch in full here.