Former Florida Republican Charlie Crist has fully leapt from one side of the aisle to the other (in a move many blame on the curb appeal of GOP challenger Marco Rubio), and the Sunshine State lawmaker blames “intolerable racism” from his previous party for a big part of that newsworthy split.
Charlie Crist told Fusion’s Jorge Ramos that he felt newly “liberated as a Democrat” after his 2010 exodus from the Republican big tent. But he spoke in depth of his newfound distaste for GOP “dog whistle” politics, explaining in part:
“I couldn’t be consistent with myself and my core beliefs, and stay with a party that was so unfriendly toward the African-American president, I’ll just go there.”
“I was a Republican and I saw the activists and what they were doing, it was intolerable to me.”
According to the now-Democrat, it appeared as if GOP “leadership went off the cliff” in recent years following the election of Barack Obama — and Crist said he was disheartened by the Republican stance he perceived as palpably unwilling to work with President Obama.
Crist’s interview went over like a lead balloon with GOP flack and Republican National Committee spokeswoman Izzy Santa, who accused the former GOP member of hiding behind race as a political maneuver:
“Being a flip-flopper is bad enough, but playing the race card to win over voters is pitiful.”
On fellow Florida lawmaker Jeb Bush, Crist opined that the rapid changes in GOP leadership were ones even Bush recognized, explaining:
“He understands what’s happening in the party. He said himself not long ago, my father probably couldn’t win a Republican primary today.’ And then he took it one step further and said, ‘not even Ronald Reagan could win a Republican primary today with this Republican Party.'”
In a separate recent interview, Charlie Crist spoke of his bid to re-enter the game in Florida, commenting:
“Nothing bothers me. Nothing bothers me… The only thing that bothers me is that Rick Scott is our governor. And we need to change it. I think that’s why we’re doing well in the polls. That’s why our funding is going better all the time.”
On Twitter, not everyone agreed with the interview’s content:
Whatever it takes to win, right @CharlieCrist? Even if you have to stoop to race hustling. http://t.co/7VMxQD2mLj
— ☀SaltWaterGirl☀ (@DonnaBee511) May 7, 2014
Loathsome Opportunist Charlie Crist Claims He Left GOP Because of Racism or Something http://t.co/1v1jxevaYC
— JWF (@JammieWF) May 7, 2014
Charlie Crist also addressed his position change on Obamacare, and recently lauded Florida enrollment rates for the newly introduced program.