Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum attempted to turn the tables on Republicans Wednesday in response to damning new reports that he lied about obtaining Broadway tickets from an undercover FBI agent.
Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, claimed in a short video address to his supporters that he is being targeted by Republicans because he is black.
“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.
“The goal is obviously to use my candidacy as a way to reinforce, frankly, stereotypes about black men.”
.@AndrewGillum (1) took a bribe from an undercover FBI agent; (2) lied about it on @cnn w @jaketapper, then, amazingly (3) says this is really the fault of Republicans because he is a black man. #sayfie pic.twitter.com/F9dElsTXAo
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) October 24, 2018
Text messages made public Tuesday showed that in 2016, Gillum and a friend, a lobbyist named Adam Corey, received tickets to the Broadway show “Hamilton” from an FBI agent posing as a real estate developer.
The agent was investigating corruption in the city of Tallahassee, including the awarding sweetheart deals to developers and businessmen.
Gillum and his campaign have claimed that Gillum received the “Hamilton” tickets from his brother, though the text messages show that Corey told him directly they were coming from the undercover FBI agent.
Gillum has also come under fire over a trip he took with the FBI agent and Corey to Costa Rica. Gillum has been accused of failing to pay for his share of the trip.
Gillum dodged questions about the tickets and Costa Rica trip during a debate Sunday against Republican candidate Ron DeSantis, a former U.S. Congressman.
When DeSantis asked Gillum about the Broadway tickets, he wouldn’t answer directly.
“First of all, I am a grown man,” said Gillum. “My wife and I take vacations and we pay for our own vacations. I don’t take free trips from anybody. I’m a hard-working person.”
“I know that may not fit your description of what you think people like me do, but I’ve worked hard for everything that I’ve gotten in my life,” he continued.