Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum showed up on the Sunday edition of MSNBC’s AM Joy to give his two cents on comments GOP rival Adam Putnam made on the Confederate monument in front of the Old State Capitol in Tallahassee.
“What a luxurious place to be, the fact that you don’t have to be aware that these kinds of symbols of division and derision greet people as they enter the Old Florida Capitol,” Gillum said of Putnam.
Gillum’s quote pokes at the Agriculture Commissioner’s admission that he was not aware of the monument in front of the old Capitol building, which now serves as the Florida Historic Capitol Museum.
The monument, which has been in place since 1882, is dedicated “to rescue from oblivion and perpetuate in the memory of succeeding generations the heroic patriotism of the men of Leon County who perished in the Civil War of 1861 – 1865.”
Putnam told about 160 Leon County Republicans at the county GOP’s barbecue dinner last week that he condemned white supremacists and the recent violence in Charlottesville, Va., and added that the country should not be fighting over the Civil War and erasing the nation’s history, a prime motive for many who oppose the removal of such monuments from public property.
“What’s going on in Charlottesville is just awful and it’s hate and it’s violent and it’s dark and it’s got no place in our society,” he said to the crowd. “And we ought to be focused more on eradicating hate today than eradicating yesteryear’s history.”
When asked about the monument at the old Capitol, he said “as much as I love history, I’ve never noticed it. Where is it? What is it?”
For his part, Gillum said he was not for the destruction of the monuments, or making them unavailable for public view. Instead he is advocating that they be placed in museums.
Putnam wasn’t his only target.
In Gillum’s two-minute MSNBC clip, he criticized President Donald Trump’s remarks on how the removal of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s statue from Charlottesville could eventually lead to the removal of statues of America’s founding fathers, such as Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, both of whom were slave owners.
Gillum said Washington and Lee “don’t deserve to be in the same sentence.” He said “one is a founder of this great country” while “the other sought to destroy, to tear apart, the United States of America.”
View the full clip below: