Tallahassee mayor and Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum issued a stern warning to President Donald Trump Tuesday in the wake of Category 3 Hurricane Michael bearing down on the city – “Don’t talk trash.”
Gillum, the Democratic candidate for governor, suspended his campaign to deal with preparation for the hurricane, the Tallahassee Democrat newspaper stated. Trump, though, was in clear campaign mode for his opponent Ron DeSantis Monday night, per the newspaper.
Trump went on the attack, blaming Gillum for a host of problems in the city, charging that there is “tremendous corruption” and “tremendous crime” in Tallahassee, WFTV reported.
“(DeSantis’) opponent runs an area and a city that’s got among the worst statistics in the country and certainly in the state,” Trump told the television station. “If his opponent gets elected, you’ll have Venezuela — Florida will become another Venezuela, and that is not good.”
Gillum fired back in a Twitter post, telling Trump that the city and state needs a partner with a hurricane approaching.
Hey @realDonaldTrump — don't come to my state and talk trash about my city while we are preparing for a Category 3 hurricane. We need a partner right now, not a partisan.— Andrew Gillum (@AndrewGillum) October 8, 2018
In two polls taken this month, Gillum is shown to have a slim lead over DeSantis. In the Mason-Dixon poll, Gillum had a razor thin 45-44 lead. In the WCTV poll, the Tallahassee mayor led DeSantis 44-43.
Political experts told the Tallahassee Democrat that they have not heard such an exchange before between a president and candidate with such a storm looming, but admitted it was “predictable” given the charged political environment of the midterms.
Steve Vancore, a Florida consultant, said to the newspaper that Gillum’s political fortunes should not be damaged with the cleanup after Hurricane Michael goes well.
“I have a hard time seeing how this is relevant to the things that people care about right now,” Vancore told the Democrat.
The Weather Channel reported Wednesday that Hurricane Michael is expected to make landfall in the state’s panhandle region Wednesday, bringing a dangerous storm surge. Winds and floods will likely impact the entire northeast Gulf Coast.
“Michael could develop into a potentially catastrophic event for the northeastern Gulf Coast,” the National Weather Service office in Tallahassee said in a statement, per the Weather Channel. Forecasters said Monday that Michael could be the strongest hurricane to make landfall along the panhandle in the last 13 years, the network stated.
Current Florida Gov. Rick Scott has urged people along the panhandle region to evacuate, calling Hurricane Michael a “monstrous storm,” according to the Tallahassee Democrat. The storm is expected to come to shore with sustained winds of 110 miles per hour.
“If you’re in an evacuation order, leave — don’t wait,” Scott said at the Emergency Operations Center, the newspaper stated.