UPDATE: Florida governor candidates react to Charlottesville — and Trump

Top row, from left: Democrats Andrew Gillum, Gwen Graham, Chris King and Philip Levine. Bottom row, from left: Republicans Richard Corcoran, RonDeSantis, Jack Latvala and Adam Putnam.

UPDATED with reactions from Philip Levine and Ron DeSantis. Candidates for Florida governor took to Twitter throughout Saturday to comment on the racially charged protests and deadly violence in Charlottesville, Va.

“This hate speech has no place in America. I promise to do all I can to unite us against hatred and division,” Democrat Andrew Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, tweeted on Saturday morning.

Later, after President Donald Trump blamed “many sides” for the violence, Gillum blasted Trump.

“When the President blames ‘many sides’ for violence at this hateful demonstration, I will call him what he is: a weak and cowardly man,” Gillum tweeted.

Before Trump’s initial comments, Democrat Gwen Graham accused the president of being “inexcusably silent.” Later, former U.S. Rep. Graham faulted the president’s response.

“.@realDonaldTrump, it’s NOT about politics, but LEADERSHIP. ALL must call #Charlottesville what it is: Disgusting white supremacist violence,” Graham said.

Democrat Chris King posted several statements about Charlottesville on his Twitter account, starting with: “Tragic what is now transpiring in Virginia. Hate and intolerance have no place in America.” Later, after a car plowed into a crowd of people protesting the white supremacists, King said: “Saddened by apparent act of terrorism in VA. Product of lack of moral leadership that exploits differences & pits ppl against each other.”

Potential Democratic candidate Philip Levine, the mayor of Miami Beach, did not post a comment of his own on Twitter but on Saturday retweeted former President Bill Clinton, who said: “Even as we protect free speech and assembly, we must condemn hatred, violence and white supremacy.”

Republican Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam tweeted: “Hate is not welcome in this country, and it will not be tolerated. My prayers go out to the people of Charlottesville.”

State Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, did not tweet a statement of his own, but retweeted statements from Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush.

“Nothing patriotic about #Nazis,the #KKK or #WhiteSupremacists It’s the direct opposite of what #America seeks to be,” Rubio said. Said Bush: “The white supremacists and their bigotry do not represent our great country. All Americans should condemn this vile hatred.”

House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land-O’Lakes, who is considering a run for governor, singled out white supremacists and others.

“We must fight against evil whatever form it takes: Nazism/racism/white supremacy! Praying for the victims and families,” Corcoran tweeted.

Another potential Republican candidate, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis of Palm Coast, called today for the Department of Justice to seek a “stiff sentence” for James Alex Fields Jr., who is accused of driving his car into a group of counter-protesters and killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

“The attack in #Charlottesville was an act of terrorism perpetrated by a Nazi sympathizer.  DOJ should seek stiff sentence for killer,” DeSantis said on Twitter.

 

 

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