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CNN Live Event/Special

Florida Governor Debate. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired October 21, 2018 - 20:00   ET




JAKE TAPPER, DEBATE MODERATOR: Live from Tampa, Florida, this is the Florida governor's debate.

Good evening. I'm Jake Tapper.

We're here for a race that reveals just how divided the nation is right now, and tonight the candidates will debate for the first time. In fact, just a few minutes ago they met for the first time.

Both candidates came from behind to win upset victories in their respective primaries, and now, each is presenting a starkly different vision for Florida's future.

Please welcome former U.S. Congressman Ron DeSantis and Mayor Andrew Gillum of Tallahassee.


TAPPER: Gentlemen, before we start, a reminder of the rules to which you both agreed. You will have 70 seconds to answer my questions and 30 seconds for responses and rebuttals. The timing lights positioned around the studio will hopefully guide you and make it not necessary for me to stop you from talking.

Let's begin with opening statements. Each of you has one minute. We're going to start with Congressman DeSantis.


Let me say hello to my wife Casey who is here. You know, we have two kids under 2 and when you're out on the campaign trail, it's very difficult, and she manages to hold it all together. So I love you and thank you.

I am Ron DeSantis. I'm an Iraq veteran. I'm a former prosecutor, and I'm on a mission to protect Florida's future for a generation. We need to protect the economic momentum that we've enjoyed, but you can't do that if you do what Andrew wants to do which is to raise taxes 40 percent and introduce a lot of new taxes. That will stop our economy. That will cost jocks. I also think we need to protect our environment and clean our water,

restore the Everglades and fight red tide. I've been endorsed by Everglades Trust. I'm the guy that can get that done.

And I also want to protect our communities. That means standing with law enforcement. That means fighting sanctuary cities. That means not allowing the opioid peddlers to get their way.

Look, Andrew is a failed mayor. He's presided over a crime-ridden city. He's involved in corruption. He's not the guy to lead our state.

I've worn the uniform. I've protected our communities. I've stood for taxpayers. As governor, I'll stand for you, and I will protect Florida's future.

TAPPER: Mayor Gillum?


My name is Andrew Gillum. In addition to being the mayor of Florida's capital city, I'm the proud husband to my wife R. Jai who is here this evening. Dad to my three children, Davis, Jackson and Caroline, son to my mother Frances who was a school bus driver growing up and my daddy Charles who was a construction worker.

I'm the fifth of seven children and the first of my siblings to graduate from high school, and the first to graduate from college.

I'm here this evening standing for anybody who has ever been told that they don't belong, that they didn't come from the right background or the right pedigree. I'm here fighting for everyday Floridians so that this is a state that works for all of us again. I'm honored to be the Democratic nominee for governor, but more importantly, I'm extremely proud to be a Floridian.

And if you give me the opportunity to serve, I promise to work every day on behalf of everyday Floridians.

Thanks and I'm looking forward to a very engaged conversation.

TAPPER: Thank you to both of you.

Congressman DeSantis, Florida is still recovering from the devastating impact of Hurricane Michael with at least 26 Floridians killed. There is scientific consensus that warmer waters from climate change are making hurricanes stronger as well as a stark warning that the world just received from the United Nations about climate change.

You recently said that you're not a climate change believer -- I'm sorry, you're not a climate change denier, but you don't want to be labeled a believer in climate change.

Given the threats Florida faces from intense hurricanes and rising sea levels, don't Florida voters deserve know where you want to stand on this issue?

DESANTIS: Well, what I said was I don't want to be an alarmist. I mean, I want to look at this and do what makes sense for Florida.

So, for example, for the people in northwest Florida, I will be there for you. You guys are resilient. You're fighting. This was a terrible storm and we will rebuild.

But I also think you have to just look at facts. The fact is, you look at south Florida. We need to do resiliency.

You have more water. You have flooding. So, as governor, that's something that I'm going to take on full throttle.

What I don't want to do is do things like what Andrew wants to do which is do a California-style energy policy that will cause our electricity rates to skyrocket 20 percent, 30 percent. That's going to hurt senior citizens on a fixed income. That will hurt our blue collar workers.

So, let's deal with the issues that we can deal with. I'm somebody who has a plan to fix, to stop the toxic algae that's been spewing into our rivers, to divert that south of the lake, restore the Everglades and restore Florida Bay. We can get that done. I think I'm the candidate that can get that done, and I think now is the time to do it because if we don't take action over the next four years, I don't know if we're ever going to be able to restore the Everglades to their rightful place.

TAPPER: Mayor Gillum?

GILLUM: Well, first, what Florida voters need to know is that when they elect me governor, they're going to have a governor who believes in science, which we haven't had for quite some time in this state.

I'm not sure what is so California about believing that the state of Florida ought to lead in solar energy. We're known as the Sunshine State. At the very least, what we can do is be a global leader here. We've got to teach the other 49 states of what to do and what it means to have a state that quite frankly leans into the challenges of the green economy and builds one and at the same time builds an economy that lasts.

I'm proud that the same week that Donald Trump pulled out of the Paris Accord, I broke ground in my city on a 120-acre solar farm, tripling the amount of solar energy we produce. We're prepared to lead and we've done so in my city and we'll do so for the state.

TAPPER: Mayor Gillum, you have a TV ad calling, quote, toxic air, red tides and algae blooms here in Florida, an economic and environmental disaster. Obviously, people are getting sick and marine life is washing up dead on Florida's beaches. You blamed in this commercial corporate profits and special interests.

Under the Gillum administration, which industries should be put on notice right now and what will they have to change? GILLUM: Yes. Well, I'll say, first, the industries that need to be

put on notice are the ones that have given my opponent over $300,000, some of the biggest polluters in this state. As the mayor of Tallahassee, we have a spray field. When we learned that that spray field was dumping high levels of nitrates into our groundwater and toxifying the Wakulla Springs, we went and began to street that facility at the tertiary level.

The truth is, is that there's not one singular issue and interests responsible for some of the climate adjustments and some of the blue and green algae. Not only is it agriculture that plays a role, but it's also some of the hyper development taking place north of Lake Okeechobee. We've got to deal with all that have in this -- in this state, and as governor, because these are not the interests funding me, I'm going to have the courage of my conviction to hold those folks who are the biggest polluters accountable and responsible for the degradation of our environment.

For 20 years, we've handed over the keys of environmental protection in this state to, quite frankly, again, the biggest corporate polluters. We're going to hole them accountable because this is our air, our water, our beaches, our oceans, and there's not a profit margin in this state big enough to take control of that.

TAPPER: Congressman?

DESANTIS: That's some interesting revisionist history. I ran in the Republican primary stressing the need for clean water. I stood up to the most entrenched interests in Florida. I had $17 million spent against me, many of that from people who opposed my view on cleaning up our water.

I was the one that got White House approval for the federal component of the southern reservoir which we will get online. We will build because what you need to do is you need to send water into that reservoir, clean it, send it south to the Everglades and Florida Bay so you're not discharging the polluted water into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Estuaries. I'll be able to get that done.

Now, Andrew wants to impeach Donald Trump. You've got to be able to work with the administration because you have to work with the Army Corps. You've got to know the key people in the administration. Otherwise, we're never going to be able to solve the problem.

TAPPER: (INAUDIBLE) Congressman.

DESANTIS: I'm the only guy that can do it.

GILLUM: Well, I think it's worth noting that the former member of Congress voted 33 times while a member of the Congress against clean water. In Washington, D.C., I think some of the largest environmental groups gave him three out of 100.

Now, I went to people -- school in Gainesville, Florida, with people who never went to class. They never got a three. The congressman couldn't do any better than that. I appreciate it --

DESANTIS: Then, why did I get endorsed by Everglades Trust?

GILLUM: I appreciate the fact that he is an election year environmentalist.

DESANTIS: Oh, yes, right.

GILLUM: But his record is going to come to bear in the race because you can't flip what has been six years of environmental disregard.


TAPPER: Go ahead, Congressman.

DESANTIS: Well, I'm endorsed by the Everglades Trust. That's the gold standard. I'm one of the few Republicans that's been able to do it.

I have the scars from fighting this fight. And when he talks about the environmental votes, I don't want to shut down like the coal industry in West Virginia.

For Florida, I've always been there. Whether it's Everglades restoration, whether it's fighting the red algae, whether it's the red tide, I've been there every step of the way and that's why I've been recognized and that's why I've been endorsed and Andrew has not.


GILLUM: The board of the Everglades Foundation is made up of three people. The same board gave $250,000 to the Republican Party in the state of Florida, and one of the three board members then dissented and joined me. I'm endorsed by a number of environmental organizations, some of the national leading ones because of my record, not what I'm saying in a campaign but what I've actually done as mayor.

TAPPER: I'd like to turn to healthcare, if I could, Mayor Gillum. You'd like to ensure all Floridians through Medicare, not just over the age of 65. Congressman DeSantis says you have a, quote, far left socialist platform.

Why is he wrong?

GILLUM: Well, he's wrong pause -- he's wrong. But he's been wrong a long time.

Here in the state of Florida, I am in favor, and I know Tom Lee is here in the audience. He was a member of the Senate that helped to pass Medicaid expansion in this state by 39-1 in the Florida Senate, under Republican control, an effort that my opponent opposes.

If we expand Medicaid here in the Florida, we'll extend access to healthcare for over 800,000 of the most medically needed Floridians, 800,000. And by doing so, we'll be able to pull down $6 billion from the federal government that right now is being given away to other states because we philosophically disagree with getting folks access to healthcare. There are hospitals who want this. There are doctors, there are nurses associations.

We can build Florida's economy simply by extending access to healthcare. And guess what? It's not only good for those 800,000 people who will get access, it's also good for folks like me and for small businesses who right now can't afford to get access to healthcare because quite frankly, it's too expensive and out of reach.

We're completely in bounds with what are the concerns of everyday Floridians which is why when I win this race, we're going to work diligently to expand Medicaid for 800,000 people.

DESANTIS: So, here's what people need to know. He's -- Andrew is for this concept "Medicare for All", which is a euphemism, because if you read it, it actually abolishes Medicare for seniors. It abolishes Medicare Advantage. It abolishes TRICARE.

And as a veteran, I know that military families depend on it. If you get your insurance through your employer, it abolishes that, and it dumps all those people against their will, regardless if they want to stay in their current plans, it dumps them on a single-payer government system. Taxes will go through the roof. We'll obviously face fiscal difficulties, and it will hemorrhage money and then the government will choose who gets the care and who doesn't.

Floridians should have their care protected. Seniors should be able to stay with Medicare Advantage. They should be able to stay with Medicare.

TAPPER: Thank you (ph).

DESANTIS: If you get it through your employer, you should be able to keep it.

GILLUM: Well, again, and I expect we'll hear a lot of this revisionist commentary and history this evening from Mr. DeSantis, but in fact what we're proposing to do is take $6 billion of money that ought to be coming into the state of Florida and to bring that money here to the state. Listen, there are Democrats and Republicans, folks on both sides of the aisle who believe that this is the right thing to do.

Mr. DeSantis, while in Congress, voted to discriminate and allow insurance companies to discriminate against people based off of pre- existing conditions.

TAPPER: Let's --

GILLUM: If you're a cancer patient, if you have diabetes, if you are a pregnant woman in the state of Florida --

TAPPER: I want to go right there.

GILLUM: -- that is a pre-existing condition. It's disqualifying --


TAPPER: Congressman DeSantis, you voted for the Republican health care plan in the House which would have strapped Obamacare's protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Do you believe insurance companies should be allowed to charge more to people who have pre-existing conditions?

DESANTIS: Preexisting conditions should be covered in that bill. They were required to be covered. It just gave states the ability to be able to do that in a way that would lower premiums for other people.

Here's what I would say as governor, if somebody somehow falls through a crack, if there's a change in law federally or court decision, I will sign a bill to take care of people with pre-existing conditions. We need to take care of those folks.

But you know what? I know people in the military, families with people with pre-existing conditions who are on TRICARE. Andrew is running away for "Medicare for All", but he ran commercials in the primary saying how he was for it.

"Medicare for All" takes away TRICARE. It forces military families on to a single-payer government plan.

So, here's the thing. I want protections. I want to have lay lot of things for plans, but you actually have to have access to a physician. You can't get stuck on a waiting list.

Under a single-payer plan, man, that will make the V.A. waiting list look like a FastPass at Disneyworld.

TAPPER: Mayor Gillum?

GILLUM: Listen, Mr. DeSantis wants to correct his record now, but for six years while in Congress, he voted over a dozen times to repeal the ACA. He voted to allow insurance companies to discriminate against people based off of pre-existing conditions.

But for those people who are at home, if you sit on a couch with one other person, between the two of you, probably one of you has a pre- existing condition, and this congressman would have allowed for insurance companies to discriminate you based off of that pre-existing conditions. He told a cancer patient who wanted to know without insurance coverage, how would they get access to health care, he said, you can always go to the emergency room.

Now, we disagree on a lot, but --

TAPPER: Thank you.

GILLUM: -- on that statement alone --

DESANTIS: Well -- GILLUM: -- Congressman DeSantis is disqualified as a governor.


DESANTIS: Let me respond to that. The point was when you talk about this coverage, what does that coverage get you? The fact is with Medicaid expansion, people didn't have access to doctors. Most physicians do not accept new Medicaid patients, so the reality is, you have people with that card but they are going to the hospital for primary care.

I don't think that's a good thing, but that in fact is the reality.

GILLUM: Healthcare is the major issue on Floridians' minds. Everyday Floridians are concerned about getting sick because if they get sick in this state, they can't go to work. If they can't go to work, they can't earn a wage. If they can't earn a wage, they can't pay their bills. And when they don't pay their bills, something gets caught off.

TAPPER: Thank you.

GILLUM: This is not -- this issue is deserving of our time because this is -- this is not something we can just walk past. This is the issue that is at the top of mind for everyday Floridians, and we deserve to hear from the congressman exactly what his healthcare proposal is. He's been promising one for months. Nothing has come from his office.

TAPPER: Final word, Congressman, on this.

DESANTIS: Well, look, Andrew wants to take away employer-provided coverage. He thinks it should be illegal.

GILLUM: Not true.

DESANTIS: You support "Medicare for All". Read the bills. That's what it does.

GILLUM: Define "Medicare for All". Define it.

DESANTIS: You ran commercial saying you supported single-payer. You said you would do a single-payer confederacy with New York and California.

Man, our taxes will go up and then we'll send all the money to California? That's not a good healthcare plan for Floridians.

So, I want to protect people's current arrangements. Governments should not force you off your plans.

GILLUM: And neither would I. The congressman, again, his votes have deluded him into his own definition of what healthcare is.

DESANTIS: So, you don't support Bernie Sanders' "Medicare for All"? GILLUM: What I support is expanding Medicaid for over 800,000

Floridians who deserve to have access to their own doctor. And let me tell you --


DESANTIS: If Medicare -- if single-payer came to your desk as governor, would you sign it or veto?

GILLUM: What I would do is expand --

DESANTIS: Would you sign it?

GILLUM: -- for over 800,000 of the most medically need people.

DESANTIS: Would you sign the bill for single-payer healthcare? You wouldn't sign it?

TAPPER: All right.

GILLUM: I should also say this because this is clearly fun and games for the congressman, but for me, I grew up having to wait for the free dental clinic to come to my neighborhood in order for us to get our teeth cleaned. As a child, I was accustomed to going to the emergency rooms because I thought that was the regular thing.

TAPPER: Thank you.

GILLUM: I didn't realize you were supposed to have a doctor and have a regular relationship.

TAPPER: Thank, Mr. Mayor.

GILLUM: This is not politics. This is real.

TAPPER: I want to turn to the economy.

Congressman DeSantis, Walt Disney World recently announced it will boost employee minimum wage $15 per hour by 2021. Mayor Gillum wants to raise Florida's minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026. What do you think the minimum wage should be?

DESANTIS: Well, first of all, I want Florida's economy to continue going. Andrew is proposing a 40 percent tax increase that will cost jobs, that will cause businesses to leave Florida, and that will stop the flow of investment that we're poised to get in light of our good business climate.

And Andrew also will not say that he's going to have to raise more taxes. There's a recent non-partisan study put out that looked at all his spending proposals, and they concluded that to pay for it, he would either need to do a 38 percent sales tax statewide or impose a state income tax. If that happens, Florida is done.

I want higher wages, but the way to do that is to keep taxes low, to keep the flow of investment coming into Florida. I think we can expand in manufacturing. I think we can expand in technology. I think we can expand in finance. That will lead to higher paying jobs.

Disney did that because they are doing well. You don't have government mandated. We have it in our state constitution, it goes up with inflation. I think that's the way to go.

You know, I made $6 an hour starting out. I had nothing. I had to work to get through college. I worked every type of odd job.

And I can tell you if Andrew's policies were in place, I wouldn't have made $15. I would have made zero, because I wouldn't have had the job.

I don't want to replace Florida jobs with kiosks. I don't want people who are starting out like me trying to make it to not have opportunities to get ahead.

TAPPER: Mayor Gillum?

GILLUM: Well, I want no compliment Disney for doing the right thing -- moving their workers to a $15 minimum wage.

And the reason why that is important is because when working people get a wage, they go out and they buy groceries. They pay their rent and they pay their mortgage. They maybe save up enough to take a vacation every once in a while, and you know what? That shouldn't be too much to ask in the state of Florida.

Forty-four percent of the people in our state, 44, say that they cannot make ends meet at the end of the month, nearly half the people in this state. Of the 67 counties, 36 of them are doing worse today than they were doing in 2007. We've got to build a more robust economy that makes way for people to have one job instead of multiple jobs --

TAPPER: Thank you.

GILLUM: -- as a way to make ends meet.

DESANTIS: Here's the problem. Andrew, this has been tried.

Seattle imposed a mandatory $15 minimum wage. What happened? Businesses left the city. People lost jobs, but even the people who did see the bump from say $12 to $15, ended up with less take home pay because their hours got reduced.

So, it's an incentive for automation and, quite frankly, it will be incentive for more people to come illegally to undercut the workers -- blue collar workers wages. So, this has been tried. It has not worked.

And I don't want to see hundreds of thousands of jobs lost because of bad policy imposed in addition to his tax increases.

TAPPER: Thank you.

So, Mayor Gillum, let me ask you. You want to raise taxes on corporations to finance your agenda. The Florida economy under Governor Scott added 1.5 million new jobs. How can you guarantee that your proposed tax increase will not halt that growth?

GILLUM: Yes. Low wage jobs under this governor.

Let's be clear about what we're proposing because my opponent and their campaign have pushed out all kinds of false information about what we're proposing, so let's be clear. One, there is not a state income tax here in the state of Florida. I'm not proposing one.

In the state of Florida, 97 percent of businesses don't pay any taxes at all. I'm not proposing to change that. Our proposal is, is that for the 3 percent of the wealthiest corporations in this state, 3 percent, who under the Trump tax scam supported by my colleague here walked away with $6.3 billion of our money, working people's money. All we're saying is that corporations can keep $5.3 billion but we're going to take a billion of that and invest in public education in this state.

Right now, Florida, teacher salaries average -- 45th lowest of all 50 states. We're the third largest state in America -- 45th lowest.

And so, what we're also saying is that for our young people who need access to the kind of skills training that used to exist, woodwork, shop, mechanical, electrical, technical, we're going to reintroduce that back into our public education system so that we can train the workers that will then go and do these jobs that corporations are bringing --


TAPPER: Thank you.


DESANTIS: Andrew has a lifetime of supporting higher taxes. He advocated a higher sales tax in Tallahassee on the commission.

When he was on the commission, he voted to raise property taxes on middle income taxpayers even though he voted to give himself $80,000 in additional retirement benefits. So, more benefits for him and higher taxes for you. That doesn't work.

And, of course, as mayor, he imposed a stiff property tax increase on middle income Tallahassee folks. And so, he supports higher federal taxes. He does support the 40 percent tax increase.

But here's the thing: if you believe with that record that he ain't going to raise your taxes, then I've got some ocean front property in Arizona I'd like to sell

GILLUM: Well, let me be clear. Again, the congressman is not well studied on my record. I am the mayor of the capital city of the state of Florida. We are among the fastest growing economies in the state of Florida per capita, one of the fastest growing in the nation per capita. We won during the tech -- the Obama administration, a tech higher

designation for the work that we're doing to retrain this generation of workers on the technology-related jobs that they need today.

The congressman can speak from the cheap seats because he's never led a city. He spent six years in Congress, and while in the majority party in Congress never passed a single piece of legislation.

TAPPER: Thank you.

GILLUM: He's not interested in governing. He's interested in destroying.

DESANTIS: Here's the thing, under Mayor Gillum's leadership, Tallahassee is the most crime-ridden city in the entire state of Florida. Last year, Tallahassee had the highest number of murders in the history of the city.

People don't feel safe in Tallahassee. You have burglaries. You have car thefts. Obviously, you have violent crime.

So, he has failed the people of Tallahassee with that record and he did raise taxes. He didn't deny it. He imposed a stiff property tax increase even though he voted to give himself tens of thousands of dollars of additional benefits.

TAPPER: Mr. Mayor?

GILLUM: Just so that the congressman can be aware, we don't collect enough in my city in property taxes to pay for our police department alone. Now, he goes out touting his endorsements for police. When we went to our citizens, our taxpayers, they joined with us, very little pushback and making sure that we could hire 50 new law enforcement officers to help keep our communities safe.

I preside right now over a city that is experiencing a five-year low in our crime rate, and we're on fact on trajectory to be at a 20-year low. We are the eighth largest city in the state of Florida, and we are 28th in crime. Those are the facts.

TAPPER: Thank you.

DESANTIS: You got more --

GILLUM: No faux facts, but actual facts.

DESANTIS: More murders than Orlando, higher murder rate than Orlando and Miami. That's just a fact.

Tallahassee -- said Tallahassee is one of the most crime-ridden city --

GILLUM: Who's ever heard of that?

DESANTIS: -- of ever -- any size anywhere in the country.

Well, the facts are the facts and you're presiding over a very crime- ridden city --

TAPPER: Mayor --

DESANTIS: -- and it's dangerous for people.

TAPPER: I want to bring up an issue plaguing each one of you.

I'll start with you, Mayor Gillum.

The FBI has been investigating potential corruption in Tallahassee now for three years. The probe appears to include lobbyists and former campaign treasurer for you, Adam Corey. You've been trying to distance yourself from Corey, but you've been friends with him for more than a decade. And two trips you took together are part of the investigation.

How can Floridians trust your judgment when someone under FBI investigation was part of your inner circle?

GILLUM: Yes. Well, you know, we all have friends that sometimes let us down, and the truth is, let me be very clear about what the record is. I am not under FBI investigation and neither is my city government.

And what we have done is we welcomed them in. If there is someone who has done something wrong, they ought to be held fully accountable for their actions. We've made every public record available on a public searchable website in our city.

And contrast how I've dealt with the FBI by comparison to how Mr. DeSantis deals with the FBI. He has gone out of his way before he quit his job in Congress to protect Donald Trump, to curb the inquiry by Mr. Mueller. He has gone even so far as to suggest that some deep state is at work to undermine the presidency. I mean, he's a conspiracy theorist, if you will.

So, if you take the way that we've dealt with their investigation as opposed to how Mr. DeSantis has dealt with it, I'll take our example every single day of the week.

DESANTIS: The difference between Andrew and me is that when I dealt with the FBI as a prosecutor, I was working hand in hand with them to bring people to justice. When Andrew deals with them, he's dealing with an undercover agent posing as a contractor who he was on a junket with in New York. You went to a Broadway show with an undercover FBI agent.

You went to Costa Rica with these same lobbyists. And guess what happened? The lobbyists that wined and dined Andrew, they got a $2 million grant from the city government.

So, to me, corruption is when you're in a position of power, you're getting something you shouldn't have had. He shouldn't have gotten the Broadway tickets, he shouldn't have gotten the trip to Costa Rica and then you give something to someone in return. He gave $2 million to the same lobbyists. TAPPER: Thank you.

Mayor Gillum?

GILLUM: So, let me be very clear. First of all, I'm a grown man. My wife and I take vacations and we pay for our own vacations. I didn't get anything in life for free. I got it by working for it.

So, if the congressman is suggesting that because I have friends that have -- I don't choose their professions, that somehow that makes me in some way less than ethical --

DESANTIS: Did you pay for "Hamilton"?

GILLUM: -- then he ought -- then he ought to check himself.


DESANTIS: Well, Andrew, did you pay -- did you pay for the trip?

GILLUM: Congressman, you have your time. I will take mine.

DESANTIS: Because you won't answer the question.

GILLUM: I will take mine.


GILLUM: The congressman himself accepted money -- in fact, he left his job in Congress because he was under ethics investigation.

DESANTIS: No, not true.

GILLUM: He went and stayed in a home in Washington, D.C. as a kickback and left Congress before that inquiry could be completed.

DESANTIS: Well, that's a lie.

GILLUM: That is a fact. That's true (ph).


DESANTIS: For six years, I lived in my office in Washington. You know what I did when I got to corporation, I declined all the perks. I declined the pension. I declined the special healthcare subsidies. The first bill I passed stopped a pay increase for members of Congress.

What he said is wrong. He's used the office to benefit himself. I put taxpayers first and gave up any perks because I think people are sick of that.

But question is, did you pay for the "Hamilton" ticket or did the undercover FBI agent pay for the "Hamilton" ticket? Did you pay to stay in the villa in Costa Rica? Where are the receipts? You have not proven that you've paid for anything and that's the problem. GILLUM: So, here's the direct answer. I don't take free trips from

anybody. I'm a hardworking person. I know that may not fit your description of what you think people like me do, but I worked hard for everything that I've gotten in my life, and I don't need anybody handing me anything for free.

But to be more specific about this congressman, since he's bringing up receipts, the Florida taxpayers deserve to know what he did with $145,000 of travel money as a member of Congress that he refuses to allow us to see those receipts. Even more, he said if I release my tax returns, which we have done, he would release his.


GILLUM: We're still waiting --


GILLUM: -- for the congressman to release his tax returns.

DESANTIS: No, they're released. I don't have anything to hide. You're the ones that have things to hide.


GILLUM: Will you also release the $145,000 in travel receipts that are out there that you took public money, our money, went to New York City --

DESANTIS: It's all public record, Jake. Every expense we do is on there. So, that's a red herring. It's all there.

GILLUM: Release it.

TAPPER: All right. So, Congressman DeSantis, let me turn to an issue that's been plaguing your campaign. One of your donors called President Barack Obama the "N" word. You denounced these comments but you did not return the money. The morning after your primary win, you said Florida voters shouldn't, quote, monkey this up by electing Mayor Gillum. You insisted your comments had nothing to do to race.

But what do you say to Florida voters who have concerns about your keeping that money from that contributor, your comments and about your tolerance?

DESANTIS: Because he made a mistake, he apologized.

Here's the deal. You know, you look at my record, whether it's in the military, when we're down range in Iraq, it didn't matter your race. We all wore the same uniform. We all had that American flag patch on our arm, and that was end of story.

You look at me as a prosecutor, working with law enforcement, it didn't matter the race of the victim. We were there to support the race of the victim. So, Floridians can know that I'll be a governor for all Floridians.

That's the only way you can do it. It doesn't mean we're going to agree on every issue, but you know what? If we disagree tomorrow, maybe two weeks later, we'll find some common ground. So that is what I believe.

And here's the thing: I look at what Andrew has done in terms of aligning himself with groups like the Dream Defenders, who one of their -- he stood on the debate stage and said he stood with them and by them but one of their main planks of their platform is to boycott divested and sanction the state of Israel. They say Israel is a genocidal apartheid state. They attack law enforcement and the police.

So that to me is very divisive. I don't think he should have signed the Dream Defenders pledge. I think he should disavow them, because I can tell you this, if you want to unify Florida, taking positions about Israel like that, that may be unifying if you're running for the mayor of the Gaza Strip.

TAPPER: Thank you.

DESANTIS: It ain't unifying here. We're a pro-Israel state and we need to do that.

TAPPER: Mr. Mayor?

GILLUM: Well, let me just simply say, my relationship with Israel is beyond reproach. I'm the mayor of the city that has a sister relationship in Israel with the city of Ramat-Hasharon. I've been to Israel three times and I've had rabbis from my community come to my defense in this regard.

That was a clever attempt to get away from the fact that Mr. DeSantis himself used to moderate a xenophobic racist Facebook page.

DESANTIS: Oh, that is not true.

GILLUM: He is.

DESANTIS: That is not true.


GILLUM: In fact, up until you became the Republican nominee --

DESANTIS: This is why the left --

TAPPER: Let's do one at a time. I'll come back to you.

GILLUM: When you became the Republican nominee, your response was, I don't even do social media. That was after you get caught.

You've spoken at conferences where there have been --


REP. RON DESANTIS, R-FL: On the Facebook stuff, you can get added to these things without consent. I never consented to anything. Yes you can. I never consented to anything. Once we found out about it, I just continued my Facebook thing. He mentions this conference, there was nothing wrong with that conference. I can tell you this, the keynote speaker at the conference was a Medal of Honor recipient named Clint Romesha. And so, you can impugn his integrity like you're trying to do mine. You've not served - - you've not worn the uniform. You don't know what sacrifice that takes. That man is an American hero and I was proud to speak at the same conference that he spoke at.

TAPPER: Mr. Mayor.

MAYOR ANDREW GILLUM, D-TALLAHASSEE: Again, the Congressman let us know exactly where he was going to take this race the day after he won the nomination. The "monkey up" comment said it all. And he has only continued and the course of this campaign to draw all the attention he can to the color of my skin. And the truth is you know what? I'm black. I've been black all my life. So far as I know I will die black. But this is the point, that the only color that the people of the state of Florida care about is the blue-green algae flowing out of the east and the west side of this state. And they deserve a governor who is going to protect this environment after 20 years of - - of environmental protection - -

DESANTIS: They all - - they all deserve a governor who will stand by - -


TAPPER: Thank you so much.

GILLUM: Thank you.

DESANTIS: They also deserve a governor who will stand by our men and women in law enforcement. And the fact is, Andrew signed a pledge with the "Dream Defenders" pledging his support, this radical manifesto. You read that. They are so vicious about hating law enforcement. They say the police in prisons have no place in justice and that law enforcement should be defunded and the money diverted for Welfare programs. The people who put on that uniform and risk their lives for us should be applauded. They should not be denigrated by a radical pledge. You should not have signed that. That is a huge mistake.

GILLUM: First of all, I have no idea what pledge he is talking about. The only thing that I said is that as governor, I will not see private prisons operating here in the state of Florida. If you want to know about my record with police, because I have public defenders and sheriffs all over this state who endorse me in this race for governor.

TAPPER: We're going to - -

GILLIUM: - - We hired more law enforcement officers so they could do their job.

TAPPER: Thank you so much. We're going to take a quick break. We'll be right back with more of the CNN Florida Governor's Debate. Thank you so much.


JAKE TAPPER: Welcome back to CNN's Gubernatorial Debate here in Florida between Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and Congressman Ron DeSantis. Gentlemen, there are an estimated 850,000 undocumented immigrants living in the state of Florida. Mayor Gillum, let me start with you. You say that Florida must be a welcoming state for all people. Does that mean that the 850,000 undocumented immigrants living here should be granted U.S. citizenship?

GILLUM: No. What I believe is that we ought to have real comprehensive immigration reform in this country. While Mr. DeSantis was in Congress, they did absolutely nothing to deal with the 20 million people in the United States who are here in an undocumented form. We should not be terrorizing people here in this country who are babies that are nursing with their parents, with their mothers. Right now, we have no real comprehensive way to deal with this challenge.

And what I've simply said is that what we're not going to become here in the state of Florida is a state where we basically become a "show me your papers" state, based off the color of somebody's skin, the language that they speak, what neighborhood they live in. That's not the American way. That's not who we are as Floridians. We should have had a Congress that demonstrated that they could do their job by dealing with the 20 million undocumented folks that we have here in the United States.

TAPPER: Congressman DeSantis.

DESANTIS: Well, I'm concerned about Mayor Gillum's platform about abolishing immigration and customs enforcement and having an open border and having a sanctuary cities and a sanctuary state. The fact is, that's a wet kiss to the drug cartels. We've got a major opioid epidemic. Most of that is now being fueled not by prescription medications but by fentanyl being sent in from China to Central America brought across the border. He says he won't cooperate with the Trump Administration with respect with illegal immigration. But if someone's here illegally and they're committing a criminal offense, you've got to honor the detainer request. I will as governor and I'll make sure those individuals are given to the Trump Administration so they can be repatriated to their home country. The safety of our communities comes first.

TAPPER: Mayor Gillum.

GILLUM: Yes. Will the Congressman (inaudible) my case as to why this Administration is on the wrong path in the way that it deals with immigration and border control? Instead of tracking these containers of fentanyl that are coming in from Asia. Instead of dealing with drug traffickers, with sex traffickers, they turned their attention to babies, caging them and ripping kids away from - - from their mothers. I believe in a border. I believe that we have borders. I believe in the - - the - - the laws that exist in this state as they exist around immigration reform and - - and obviously keeping our community safe. Which is why I preside over a city that is experienced in lowering the crime rate.


DESANTIS: Well he just doesn't want to enforce any of laws. He says he believes in laws - -


TAPPER: Congressman DeSantis, would you request that the Federal government, if you were governor, deport all 850,000 undocumented immigrants in Florida?

DESANTIS: Florida, we are not in the immigration business. I mean, we have our communities but if somebody comes in contact and they're here illegally then that's when you work with the Federal government. But we've got to do run of the mill crime, our sheriffs. I've been endorsed by over 50 sheriffs which I'm very proud of. Police benevolent associations endorsed me, state troopers. We have huge support of law enforcement. So they've got to keep their eye on the ball. But anyone who's here illegally, I mean if you do something, I mean, you molest a child and you get convicted here. You're here illegally. You need to immediately upon finishing sentence be given to ICE and you need to be sent back to your home country.

Now Andrew during the primary said he wanted to abolish ICE. Said he would not cooperate with the Trump Administration, visa (inaudible) illegal immigration. That means you're going to have more crime in Florida and this is a mayor who presides over one of the most crime ridden cities in our state. They have the record number of murders last year in Tallahassee. In fact, they had to send in the Florida Highway Patrol recently for an operation called "All In" because crime is so out of control they needed to help stop the bleeding.

TAPPER: Thank you. Mr. Mayor.

GILLUM: Well, the Congressman went to far to many good schools to not get it. In my city and what we have said is, one, to replace ICE and put it inside the Department of Justice. An organization that would - - would at least have fidelity to the law. Second, what we said is if you commit a crime in our community, you will be arrested and you will be dealt with and prosecuted under the letter and to the fullest extent of the law.

DESANTIS: Will you cooperate with Trump's ICE?

GILLUM: That does not, in any way, gel with what the Congressman just said. But it is clear that he has no relationship with the truth.

DESANTIS: Well will you honor a request from Donald Trump's ICE agency? If they provide a detainer request, will you honor it as governor? Will you work with Donald Trump? Yes or no? GILLUM: You can proceed with your time.

DESANTIS: He won't answer -- Jake, that's important because that's what happens when somebody is a criminal.

GILLUM: If you like to --

DESANTIS: I've been a prosecutor. I've worked with law enforcement. When they are in the system, they are convicted, maybe they serve ten years.

But it comes time to come out. There's a detainer request from ICE, you turn him over to ICE or release him into the community. That's the only two options. Andrew will not answer the question.

GILLUM: Detainer --

DESANTIS: That tells me he would be willing to release them back into our community.


TAPPER: Would you like to answer the question.

GILLUM: Of course. I just think that the showboating is unnecessary. What we will do is we will follow the law. If you commit a crime, you do the time. If through the adjudicatory process and a judge issues a warrant for an arrest or movement into an ICE facility, that is exactly what we would follow.

DESANTIS: That's not the way it works.

GILLUM: By the way, what the congressman is suggesting has already been determined by the Supreme Court to be unconstitutional.


TAPPER: I want to move on to another -- I want to move on to another topic.

In February of this year, a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland and murdered 17 students, teachers and staff. Following the tragedy, new legislation in Florida raised the minimum age to purchase a firearm, banned bump stocks and provided funding for mental health assistance in schools and for arming some teachers and staff.

Congressman DeSantis, Republican Governor Rick Scott signed this legislation into law enforcement. You say you would have vetoed it. Why?

DESANTIS: You know, Jake, last year at the congressional baseball game, you know, we had a shooting. And Steve Scalise, my friend, got shot. I was three minutes away from being in that fire and that really I think shocked me, but I can tell you, Casey and I are young parents and Parkland, even though I wasn't there, even though the congressional shooting was much closer to me, Parkland had more of an effect on my wife and me because of our two young children.

So, I think that the school security is something -- I'm working with Andy Pollack whose daughter Meadow tragically lost her life there. We're going to fix it in terms of school security.

I think the blanket restriction on age is going to get struck down by the courts. I'm a big supporter of the school security. I think we need to do more, and I think we have to take some of these people who are causing problems like this killer, he should have been convicted of crimes. He should have been Baker Acted. He should not have been on the streets.

And so, I'm going to work with Andy. I'm going to work with our law enforcement people to identify those people who should not have access to weapons and indeed should not be on the street at all.

TAPPER: Mayor Gillum?

GILLUM: The congressman was against the piece of legislation because he's wholly owned by the NRA. He's not going to stand up to the National Rifle Association. That's why they're running all these ads against me, because they want the man that they bought.

In my case, we're prepared to stand up to the NRA. They sued me. They dragged me through court for two years, all because we said we would not allow guns to be shot in a city park. Radical. That you cannot shoot guns in a park where our kids play and our families picnic.

That's why people are so incensed by this. Common sense and decency seem not to be able to prevail in this conversation.

TAPPER: Congressman?

DESANTIS: Well, I think the problem that Andrew has though is that his record as mayor is one providing over a city that's out of control in terms of crime. You know, when you have the record number of murders -- in fact, the guy running to succeed him as mayor was his former chief of staff, and he's sending out literature to voters saying most murders in history last year, something needs to change.

That's right. Andrew couldn't keep Tallahassee safe. He's not the guy to keep Florida families safe.

GILLUM: All right. Well, Ron is being Don, and that's Donald Trump, neglecting all sense of reason and facts.

I preside over a city that is experiencing a five-year low in our crime rate on trajectory to be at a 20-year low in our crime rate. No matter of restatement of what he has to say is going to change the facts. This is CNN, not Fox. Have you to bring facts to the conversation.

And in our case --

DESANTIS: Record number of murders last year, yes or no? GILLUM: And in our case, we are the eighth largest city and 27th in


DESANTIS: Did you have record murders?


TAPPER: One at a time.

GILLUM: This is what Florida voters understand -- what Florida voters understand is that communities will experience crime. Just in Jacksonville earlier today --

TAPPER: Thank you.

GILLUM: -- six people shot. The question is what are we going to do about if, and what I'm going to do is take on the NRA and hold them responsible for the rampant crime in our communities.

TAPPER: I want to ask you, Mr. Gillum, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel is a supporter of your campaign. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is currently investigating Sheriff Israel for his handling of the Parkland massacre, even though he told me in an interview that he thought his leadership was amazing.

Do you think his leadership was amazing?

GILLUM: No, I don't. I think there were failures on many sides, quite frankly. I think Scott Israel is independently elected by the people of Broward County, and they are the ones who have a say about what they think about his job.

But more importantly, it is an easy tactic to go after Scott Israel rather than actually taking on the folks who are complicit in the kind of rampant violence that we see, not only in our schools, but in our neighborhoods.

Our kids right now are going to school having to be taught what to do in active shooter drills rather than learning arts and science and language when arts and history and culture and politics. Parents are literally terrified in they drop their kids off at school, they want to know when they go to pick them up, will they pick them up alive or in body bags? That is unacceptable in this state and we deserve a governor who is going to stand up to one of the largest and most powerful lobbies who stand in the way of any form of common sense gun reform.

TAPPER: Congressman?

DESANTIS: Well, the way to keep people safe is to have accountability for the people that let our communities down. Our parents -- Sheriff Israel let that community down, the school board and the school administrator let the community down. They adopted a promise program which said if a student is getting into trouble, we're going to pretend that he's not committing offenses. That individual should have been arrested. And, of course, the FBI who ignored that plea for help from that great lady in January. Nobody has been fired at the FBI.

We have a crisis of accountability at all levels of government. I think Israel should have been removed from office by the governor, and I think there needs to be change in both Broward and in the FBI as a result of this failure.

TAPPER: Whoever wins the governorship on November 6th will have to work with the federal government and with President Trump.

Congressman DeSantis, you featured your children in a campaign ad in which you were encouraging them to, quote, build a wall out of toy blocks and reading a children's story about the president saying "you're fired".

Do you think President Trump is a good role model for the children of Florida?

DESANTIS: Well, Jake, my wife and I were poking a little fun at ourselves because of the way the campaign was going and I'm proud of my family though. We -- I don't actually read "The Art of the Deal" to my son Mason, he's a great kid and he smiles at anything, but that's not necessarily his cup of tea.

So, here's what I know. You know, I was very passionate about moving our American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Andrew opposed that. A couple months ago, he said it was a mistake. He said we shouldn't recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Every president for 25 years has promised that on the campaign trail. Once in office, they didn't do it. Donald Trump promised it and he followed through with it.

And so, to me, when you give your word and you follow through with it as an elected official, that is the model that we're supposed to do. He was right to most embassy to Jerusalem. I was there for an historic event. I know Andrew didn't support that and doesn't think that's right, but to me that was true leadership.

TAPPER: Mr. Mayor?

GILLUM: I'm confused by the question.

TAPPER: The question is whether or not he thinks President Trump is a good role model for the children of Florida.

GILLUM: That's what I thought, originally. I got confused.


GILLUM: So, no, he's not. Donald Trump -- Donald Trump is weak. And he performs as all weak people do, they become bullies and Mr. DeSantis is his acolyte. He's trying out to be the Trump apprentice. At every turn, he's tweeting him, he's talking to him, he's showing up -- he's complimenting him. And let me tell you, listen -- my disgust for the president and his

behavior actually will have nothing to do with whether or not -- if Trump tries to send us money as President Obama tried to send to the state of Florida to build high speed rail across the I-4 corridor, and our governor said no, no, thank you, we don't believe in Obama's stimulus, if Trump tries to send me that $2.6, I'm going to take it, bring it to the state of Florida and put the people of the state of Florida to work.


DESANTIS: The problem with that is, you know, our needs in Florida intertwine with the federal government. We need water resources. We need the reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee. I'll be able to get that done.

Transportation, parts of our state are like a parking lot. You need to work with the administration to be able to get the dollars that we deserve.

And, of course, our military footprint, which is so critical to certain parts of our state, you need to be able to work with the president.

So, Andrew can't do that. He wants to impeach Trump. He's always saying bad things about him. You know, I'm not going to be involved in the Washington food fight anymore. I've been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

But I think I will be better positioned to advance Florida's priorities because I have a productive relationship with the administration.


GILLUM: Let me be clear. Let me be clear about this. I realize that the congressman tried to obfuscate the Mueller investigation on Russia, but you -- this is not Russia. You shouldn't have to kiss the ring of the president of the United States for the president to see to the good and the goodwill of the third largest state in all of America.

This is a democracy is. We can dissent. We can disagree, and where it comes to working together we can do that, too.

If you want to look at an example, look at how Rick Scott and I worked with each other in the aftermath of this hurricane. Now, he and I don't agree much on public policy but when it comes to dealing with natural disasters, we put the mess to the side and we get the job done. That's what you do in a democratic society.

TAPPER: Thank you.


DESANTIS: That's just not the way it works. The president has got so many different irons in the fire.

GILLUM: Not with this president.

TAPPER: Just one at a time.

DESANTIS: You've got to be able to make the case in a way that is going to get quick action, and I think I'll be able to do that.

But it's not just the president. I mean, I know the key people in the administration. I was instrumental in getting the federal component for the southern reservoir which is going to solve our toxic algae crisis in this year's water bill. Trump is going to sign it soon.

And so, that's very important for the people of Florida.

GILLUM: You should --

DESANTIS: Veterans know I'll be able to deliver for them and folks on the coast know we'll be able to deliver on the reservoir.

GILLUM: You should measure by people by their actions.


GILLUM: And based off his actions --


GILLUM: Based off his actions, for six years as a member of the controlling party, he got nothing passed.

DESANTIS: It's not true.

GILLUM: In fact, he was an obstructionist member of the Congress.

DESANTIS: That's not --

GILLUM: Voted to shut down the government and Trump didn't come to his aid except to tweet at him and that's how he became the Republican nominee.

DESANTIS: Well, actually, I mean, I've done -- I blocked the pay increase for Congress. I passed a bill to stop sending money to the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism in Iran.

You support the Iran deal. I didn't. I thought it was a disaster for our country.

So, I've been very active -- and on my committees, being able to get a pilot program for veterans with post-traumatic stress they can get paired with especially trained service dogs.

I have a great record of accomplishment and leadership and that's exactly what I'll do for the state of Florida.


TAPPER: Let's drill down on a point that Congressman DeSantis is raising, because you have called president -- you have called for President Trump to be impeached for obstruction of justice and you said his presidency shouldn't make it through the end of the year. That's farther than Democratic leaders in Congress have gone.

How can you expect to work with President Trump --


TAPPER: -- on behalf of the state of Florida when you have gone so far on this issue?

GILLUM: Well, first of all, nobody is above the rule of law. The president himself in his own words admitted to obstructing justice. And what do you do when someone obstructs justice? I understand that you should hold them accountable, even the president of the United States.

But listen, that ain't my job. That was his job while he was there, right? And they didn't get it done.

My job is going to be every single day to wake up and to defend everyday Floridians.

The president as the gulf -- Panhandle region began to prepare for the impacts of Hurricane Michael, what did he do? He took a sideswipe against us. He called names, went to Twitter and to interviews and insulted the people just as they were beginning to try to get out of harm's way. The congressman said nothing about this. Why? Because he's a stooge.

It's my job every single day to be in the interests and to do the bidding of the people of the state of Florida. Not to appease Donald Trump, not to bend to his will, but to stand up and to represent the people of the state. Every day I'm going to be team Florida.

TAPPER: Thank you.

Congressman --

DESANTIS: He's running away from --

GILLUM: Every day.


DESANTIS: He's running away from saying he wants to impeach Trump. He ran commercials two months ago saying impeach Trump on his commercial. So, this is a little bit rich.

But here's the thing, Jake. When president wanted to do offshore drilling, I opposed him on it, because I think Florida is unique and we shouldn't have drilling offshore. But guess what? Because I have a productive relationship, he listened to me, listened to Governor Scott and we were able to get the exemption from Florida.

So, it's a difference between productive leadership and destructive leadership. Andrew wants to lead the anti-Trump resistance from Tallahassee. He's going to have Soros clapping. He's going to have Hollywood actors clapping.

But the people of Florida will be left behind. Our military installations, our water resource and transportation interests will all suffer because of the radical posture he's decided to take against the president.


GILLUM: And if Congressman DeSantis is elected, which he won't be, he will lead the effort to worship at the feet of Donald Trump.

We live in a democracy. We don't worship the feet of the president. We hold him accountable at every single turn. He is only interested in appeasing Donald Trump. And this is the fundamental tests, the governor of the state of Florida, the third largest state of America, your governor ought to be out there for you.

They -- I get up every single day first top of mind, what is in the best interest of the people of this state? The president came here and disrespected our state. He said nothing, right? If the president comes here and disrespects us, he will hear from me as a governor.


TAPPER: Congressman?

DESANTIS: So, we should look for the folks. I stand with law enforcement. You support groups that attack law enforcement. I support our military. You support groups that say the U.S. is the biggest bully in the history of the planet.

I support our men and women working every day in good jobs. I want to keep those jobs. I don't want those jobs going away because of high taxes and bad fiscal policy.

So, yes, I'm thinking about the hard working taxpayers and I think Andrew has a different agenda that's more in tune with his left wing ideology.

GILLUM: Listen, the congressman has never governed. He was an obstructionist member of his own party. What I have is 15 years of a public record. We're experiencing a five-year low in our crime rate. We're the fastest growing economy. One of (ph) in the state of Florida of per capita, one of the leading ones in the country.

It's important to point that out because it keeps going to a made up record of his own doesn't reflect the reality of my community at all.

TAPPER: Congressman?

DESANTIS: Well, I mean, then why are 50 sheriffs endorsing me? Why is the PBA is -- if you're such a good steward of your public safety, the fact is Tallahassee is known for having bad crime. And you can say, it maybe in a good trajectory -- it's still higher than everywhere else. And the murders were the highest in history last year.

That's under your leadership. You raised taxes multiple times. And you have not accounted for these trips that we're done with lobbyists who you gave a $2 million contract --


GILLUM: Where (ph) 140,000 number (INAUDIBLE) --

TAPPER: Thank you so much.

We're going to take a very quick break. We'll be right back with more of CNN's Florida governors debate. Stay with us.



TAPPER: Welcome back to the CNN Florida governor's debate in Tampa.

We now have time for closing statements. You each have one minute.

We're going to start with your, Congressman DeSantis.

DESANTIS: Well, thanks, Jake.

And good to meet you, Andrew. It's been a fun, fun night.

Look, I'm prepared as an Iraq veteran, as somebody who's worked with law enforcement as a prosecutor, as someone who stood for taxpayers his whole life. I'm the guy who can lead Florida and protect our future.

We've got to keep our economy going. People are getting opportunities. We can't destroy it with stiff tax increases that are going to cost jobs and prevent more business from coming to our state.

We also got to stand with the men ask women in law enforcement. You got to have their back. You can't say you're going to cut their budget. You can't say police and prisons have no place in justice. They are the heart of justice.

We can't have open borders. I want to make sure we're not trying to abolish ICE and doing things that are going to make our communities less safe. And we will finally solve the problem of our toxic algae, of our dirty water, and we will restore the Everglades, and we will clean this up once and for all.

I'm asking for your vote. I will work hard. I will put your interests above mine. I'm not going to use my office to feather my own nest. And it would be an honor to have your vote.

TAPPER: Mayor Gillum?


GILLUM: Because my mother and father would have to get up so early in the morning to go to work, they would load us all into a car, drive us over to my grandmother's house where she would have a ritual to do two things before she let crossed us the threshold of the door. She'd take her bottle of olive oil, also known as blessing oil, and build a cross on my forehead as a way to send us out into the day with a blessing and a covering.

And then she would have this mantra where you say, go to school, mind your teachers, get your lesson and one day bring that education home. She'd say, bring it home for your mama, for your daddy who get out there and work on somebody else's job. Bring it home for your little brother and your little sister.

What my grandmother was communicating to me was that it wasn't just about me. It's about all of us. And in Trump's America, we've been led to believe that we've got to step in our neighbor's shoulder and their face and their backs in order to get ahead. Well, I reject that.

And we have an opportunity on November 6th as a collective, as a state, to say we deserve better. We want better. We want better schools, access to health care, a clean economy, a restorative justice system that works where hand in glove the community and law enforcement work together for all of our benefit.

I'm asking you all for the only thing in life that my mother ever told me to ask for and that's a chance. I want to be your governor. Let's bring it home.

TAPPER: Thank you so much.


TAPPER: Thank you so much to Congressman DeSantis. Thank you so much to Mayor Gillum. Really appreciate your time.

Thanks to our wonderful audience.