The Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) this week called on Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum to fire a staffer who wore a shirt with an insult directed at Americans who voted for President Trump in the 2016 election.
Manny Orozco-Ballestas, the campaign's director of youth outreach, posted a photo to his Instagram last summer, showing him wearing a shirt depicting the 2016 electoral map, the Tampa Bay Times reported. The paper published the photo, which says in writing that the blue states form “The United States of America,” while the red states are labeled “Dumbf---istan.”
"It is unbelievable to me that Andrew Gillum would not only employ, but promote on social media, a person who calls voters 'dumb f----' for electing Republicans," RPOF Chairman Blaise Ingoglia said in a news release.
"It is unbelievable to me that Andrew Gillum would not only employ, but promote on social media, a person who calls voters 'dumb f----' for electing Republicans."
Ingoglia demanded that Gillum apologize and fire Orozco-Ballestas, calling it “hypocritical” for the nominee to endorse the kind of hateful and intolerant speech “he likes to denounce."
Gillum had denounced a remark his Republican opponent Ron DeSantis made last month after they each secured their party’s nominations in November’s election for warning voters not to “monkey this up” by voting for the Democrat, who is black.
A spokeswoman for Gillum told the Times they had addressed the explicit shirt with Orozco-Ballestas, adding that they won’t "be lectured about words by the Party of Trump."
"The anti-Trump shirt he wore before he was hired wasn't funny or in any way related to our campaign and we've addressed that with him," spokeswoman Carlie Waibel told the paper.
The photo has reportedly been removed from Orozco-Ballestas' Instagram account.
A Quinnipiac Poll released Wednesday showed Gillum advancing to a 9-point lead over DeSantis, 54 percent to 45 percent.