Disgraced former Tallahassee, Florida Democratic mayor Andrew Gillum, who came within a whisker of becoming the Sunshine State’s governor in 2018, resurfaced on July 20 with a campaign-style “update” video that was warmly received by establishment media outlets and many of his former supporters. In an era of social media dominance and short-term memory, events move quicker than ever. But are we to believe that a career rocked by the sort of shockingly salacious scandal that would have unquestionably been a political death sentence 15 years ago can today begin to be rebuilt in a few short months?
The 11-minute video posted on his Instagram account marked Gillum’s first public remarks since he entered rehab after police in March responding to a distress call found the touted possible future presidential candidate with a male prostitute in a Miami Beach hotel room reportedly strewn with drugs, blood, and vomit. Rather than displaying humility, Gillum peppered his comments with vague but crisply delivered Oprah-esque self-affirmations and notable traces of glumness over the loss of his prized political standing.
‘Can’t Be What I Would Love to Be’
In short, Gillum issued a woe-is-me declamation asserting that not being a public official after losing the gubernatorial election to Republican Ron DeSantis depressed him so much that it led to the personal behavior that is now preventing him from being a political player, and isn’t it all so sad?
“This is a tough moment not to be out in the world and contributing,” Gillum declared, “although I can’t be what I would love to be for you and for myself and for my community at this time. I hope you know that I couldn’t be those things because I couldn’t be what I needed to be for me first.”
It should be remembered that along with entering rehab in the wake of the seedy affair, Gillum “also hired a high-powered media consultant that specializes in crisis management and damage control, campaign records showed,” the Tallahassee Democrat daily newspaper reports. In his Instagram video, Gillum sounds for all the world like a man itching to get back into a game he dearly misses.
Systemic Racism and High-Priced Escorts
About halfway into his presentation, a rambling Gillum brought up the Coronavirus crisis and Black Lives Matter, two major issues that have blown up in the short time that the former CNN commentator has been out of the limelight, to further accentuate his personal struggles. “This Black Lives Matter movement, anti-blackness, I know as a black man what it means just to have to convince people that your life has meaning, convince people that your life has purpose,” he said. Gillum painted the hot-button topics as examples of the kind of “pressure” that helped spur his damaging actions. Yes, he actually conjured the specter of racial injustice as an explanation for consorting with a male escort in a drug-dappled luxury hotel room.
But if the weirdly sloganeering tone of the video was off-putting, the timing is even worse. It hasn’t been five months and Gillum is already testing the waters for a comeback. We all know politicians today are hopelessly out of touch with the citizens they claim to want to represent. But does Gillum really not understand that the best course of action for him to take is to disappear for a good long while and let the air clear?
Silence would be utterly golden for Andrew Gillum right now, but if there is one thing a politician cannot abide it is the inability to hear the sound of his own voice being projected out to the masses. It would seem this is one addiction Gillum doesn’t want to kick.
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