Gov. Desantis jabs at media for exalting Andrew Gillum

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis attends a media event regarding the 2022 Florida Python Challenge, Thursday, June 16, 2022, in Miami. Florida is the only state that hasn't preordered COVID-19 vaccines for toddlers in anticipation of their final approval by the federal government. DeSantis said Thursday that his administration won't facilitate their distribution, though he said they'll be available to those who want them. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis attends a media event regarding the 2022 Florida Python Challenge, Thursday, June 16, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

UPDATED 12:47 PM PT – Friday, June 24, 2022

Governor Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) forced the media to eat crow after his former opponent was indicted on federal charges. The DOJ charged Democrat Andrew Gillum with 21 counts on Wednesday.

On Thursday, DeSantis was asked if he felt vindicated after being called a liar and a racist for bringing up the FBI probe into Gillum during the 2018 gubernatorial race. DeSantis responded by asking the media if they had any type of “mea culpa” for glorifying Gillum.

“There were clearly a lot of issues there,” DeSantis voiced. “If you looked under the hood you saw it. What was presented to the public was that this guy was like the second coming. Never has a candidate been elevated that way by media outlets. Certainly not in the last 10 years or so. I can tell you if I had not won in 2018, this state would be in much worse shape and that’s not even a question.”

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of Florida, Gillum is facing charges of wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and making false statements to the FBI. Gillum served as mayor between 2014 and 2018. The 21 count indictment alleges that the crimes took place between 2016 and 2019, which covers most of the time Gillum was in office.

“I have spent the last 20 years of my life in public service and continue to fight for the people,” Gillum said in a statement. “Every campaign I’ve run has been done with integrity. Make no mistake that this case is not legal, it is political. Throughout my career I have always stood up for the people of Florida and have spoken truth to power. There’s been a target on my back ever since I was the mayor of Tallahassee. They found nothing then, and I have full confidence that my legal team will prove my innocence now.”

Gillum entered rehab in 2020 after police found him in a Miami Beach Hotel with a male prostitute overdosing on drugs. An initial appearance is scheduled for Wednesday at 2 p.m. at the U.S. Courthouse in Tallahassee.

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