Carlos Beruff, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate from Florida, repeatedly referred to President Barack Obama as an “animal” at a county GOP meeting on Thursday.Two other candidates for that Senate seat -- Democrat Patrick Murphy and Republican David Jolly -- have called on Beruff to apologize. Beruff's spokesman rebuffed Murphy, and -- as all conservatives do these days when accused of racism -- said the accuser is the one whose speech was offensive:
Addressing party faithful at a St. John’s County GOP gathering, Beruff accused Obama of destroying America and its military.
“Unfortunately, for seven and a half years this animal we call president, because he’s an animal, OK -- seven and a half years, has surgically and with thought and very smart, intelligent manner, destroyed this country and dismantled the military under not one, not two, but three secretary of defenses,” he said. “And they’ve all written books about it.”
“Sooner or later, you’re going to find, this was a plan, he wants us to be just another country. I don’t want to be another country. I want to be the United States of America, the greatest country in the world,” he added, garnering a round of applause.
Beruff's spokesman Chris Hartline chided Murphy for the statement.Will it surprise you if I tell you that Beruff has been praised by Ann Coulter-wannabe Kevin D. Williamson of National Review? You know Williamson, right? The guy who said on Twitter that women who have abortions should be hanged? The guy who compare Cliven Bundy to Gandhi and a fugitive slave? The guy whose word portrait of East St. Louis, Illinois, began with a depiction of a black man making a "gesture of primate territorial challenge"?
"When liberals like young Congressman Patrick Murphy cannot defend their views they resort to name calling and the politics of racial division," Hartline said.
On the day that Beruff called Obama an "animal," Williamson published a short piece praising him at National Review:
Like the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Beruff comes from a real-estate background, having built a very successful housing-construction business in Manatee and Sarasota counties. By his estimate, he has built more than 2,000 houses and has owned and developed a pretty fair-sized portfolio of other properties. Like Trump, he talks dismissively (if not quite so disdainfully) of “career politicians” and the “elitist political class that talks but doesn’t really represent us.” He speaks earnestly about bringing a businessman’s “skill set” to bear on federal problems and creating a “customer service” model of government’s relations with taxpayersWilliamson also accused Democratic Senate candidate Patrick Murphy of being the real hatemonger, based on earlier comments Murphy had made:
... [Rick] Scott, one of the country’s best governors if not one of its most charismatic, is ... a deep-dipped facts-and-figures guy. Beruff, whose most notable political office so far in his career has been service on the Southwest Florida Water Management District, is cut from the same cloth.
... Beruff ... has less in common with the Donald Trump personality cult and more with the old-fashioned notion of the citizen-legislator. The tradition of going into business, making a fortune, and then lending one’s time and energy to public service, properly understood to include such unsexy endeavors as a stint on the Southwest Florida Water Management District or the Sarasota Manatee Airport Authority Board (on which Beruff also has served), is an old and proud American practice.
Murphy has denounced Beruff as a bigot, because that is the Democrats’ opening play, always, even when the contest is a lily-white Democrat against a Hispanic Republican.(Beruff is Cuban-American.) So what did "lily-white Democrat" Murphy overreact to, according to Williamson?
That was in response to Beruff’s agreeing with Donald Trump’s proposal to suspend immigration from Middle Eastern countries.Actually, Beruff's proposal is even more extreme than Trump's:
Donald Trump suggested banning all Muslims from entering the U.S. ... Now, a Florida candidate for U.S. Senate wants to ban anyone from a Middle Eastern country, except Israel, from entering the United States.Terrorist organizations exist in countries all over the world. We have terrorist organizations in America. Should Americans be legally prevented from coming to America?
During the question-and-answer session that followed a speech to the Broward County Republican Party on Monday night, Carlos Beruff was asked by someone in the audience about his "position on Muslim immigration."
"Ah ha," he said. "I think our immigration department is broken. And I don't think it's safe to allow anybody from the Middle East into this country."
... He said he would apply the ban to people from many countries. "Pretty much anybody that's got a terrorist organization in it, which is pretty much all the Middle East." Asked about Israel, he said the ban wouldn't apply to people from that country. "I think Israel's security measures are pretty strong," he said. "Israel is an exception."
This is why Beruff has been called the "little Trump of Florida." He's way back in the polls so far, but let's see if attention-getting hate speech does as much good for his campaign as it did for Trump's.