The Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor in Florida once said that his student government election campaign at Harvard University was thwarted because he was “nailed to the cross” by the student newspaper, which he noted had a Jewish majority on staff.
Chris King, an evangelical Christian, narrowly lost a race for president of Harvard’s undergraduate council in 1999 after the Harvard Crimson declined to endorse him, noting that his ticket’s “ties to religious groups have raised concerns among students.”
“I was nailed to the cross,” King told the Newhouse News Service after the election. “And most of the editorial staff that was so hard on me, the vast majority were Jewish.”
King, now an entrepreneur, apologized in June after it was first noticed by a local progressive blog, Orlando Rising. “This quote from when I was 20 years old is completely at odds with my beliefs,” he said in a statement. “It was a hurtful and stupid comment and I apologize.”
King is running behind Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum against Republican opponent Rep. Ron DeSantis.
“Chris King’s statements are deeply troubling. His comments, coupled with Andrew Gillum’s recent statements, show that the Andrew Gillum campaign is running on an anti-Israel platform, which would be a disaster for Florida,” DeSantis spokesman Stephen Lawson told the Orlando Sentinel earlier this month.
Gillum said in an August podcast interview that Israel’s reactions to rocket attacks from Gaza were “an outsized response that has created a humanitarian crisis.” He has also been knocked by DeSantis for supporting the Dream Defenders, a Black Lives Matter-tied organization that also backs the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel. Gillum has said that he opposes BDS and supports a two-state solution.
DeSantis, a staunch supporter of Israel and beneficiary of more than $1 million in donations from Jewish donors, has in turn been criticized for making what many perceived as a racially-charged remark about the potential for Gillum, who is African-American, to “monkey this up” if he wins.