Florida’s gubernatorial candidate, Andew Gillum, falsely claimed Monday night that his opponent, Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), “authored a book justifying slavery.”
The comments came during an appearance on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.”
Gillum was making an argument he frequently makes about his opponent — that he uses code language to convey racist sentiment — but threw in a new talking point, that DeSantis actually authored a book that specifically justifyies slavery.
Comedy Central notably edited this claim from the interview that aired on TV, but the comment can still be found in a longer version of the interview available online.
“He’s spoken at conferences with them,” Gillum told Trevor Noah. “He authored a book justifying slavery. He, himself, when he became the Republican nominee, went on Fox News and said to the voters of Florida not to 'monkey' the state up.”
Gillum appears to be referring to DeSantis’ only published book, “Dreams From Our Founding Fathers: First Principles in the Age of Obama.” The book, as the title suggests, applies lessons drawn from the Founding era to the Obama Administration.
Here’s the book’s description:
The Age of Obama has sparked widespread public discontent, the formation of tea parties, and a renewed emphasis on the philosophy of the Founding Fathers. Dreams From Our Founding Fathers: First Principles in the Age of Obama shows why so many Americans have turned to the nation’s founding principles in response to Barack Obama’s self-described “transformational change” agenda.
Using critical primary sources like the debates at the Constitutional Convention and The Federalist Papers, Ron DeSantis identifies the important principles that the Founders relied upon when they created the Constitution and demonstrates how Obama and his allies have radically departed from them. On issue after issue—the scope of government, the redistribution of wealth, the role of the courts, political leadership, and foreign affairs, among others—Obama has chartered a course that is alien to the Republic’s philosophical foundations.
America is at a constitutional crossroads. Obama’s vision rests heavily on progressive thought and the plethora of left-of-center political influences that have informed his worldview, and portends a decidedly less exceptional America, an America more akin to governments throughout Europe, in which the state, rather than the individual, is supreme.
Such a vision is a far cry from the dreams bequeathed to us by the Founding Fathers, who created a constitution based on enduring truths about individual liberty and the role of government. The voters’ choice between these competing visions will define the national character for a generation and, perhaps, irrevocably. Alexander Hamilton’s observation in The Federalist No. 1, regarding the state of affairs in his time, is equally apt to our time: “The crisis at which we are arrived may with propriety be regarded as the era in which that decision is to be made; and a wrong election of the part we shall act may, in this view, deserve to be considered as the general misfortune of mankind.”
Clearly this is not a book “justifying slavery,” but rather a book celebrating the Constitution.
We've reached out to the Gillum campaign for clarification and will update this post with any response we receive.