Gov. Rick Scott said Thursday that GOP gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis was "inartful" in comments about rival Andrew Gillum that critics say were racial.

"He could have said it more artfully," Scott told reporters in a clip circulated by the liberal American Bridge. "Ron cares about the state and I know he didn't mean any ill will."

DeSantis said Florida voters shouldn't "monkey this up" by electing Gillum, who is black, who has called for tax increases and other liberal policies. He also referred to Gillum as "articulate."

Should DeSantis apologize? "It's a decision he can make," Scott demurred. "I know he didn't mean any ill will."