Who is Andrew Gillum? Here's all about Tallahassee ex-mayor who came out as bisexual after Miami hotel incident
In March, Gillum was found allegedly too inebriated to talk in a South Beach hotel along with two other men – one of them reportedly was a reputed male escort
Former Democratic candidate for governor of Florida Andrew Gillum said in an interview released on Monday, September 14, that he identifies as bisexual. “To be very honest with you, when you didn't ask the question, you put it out there is whether or not I identify as gay. And the answer is I don't identify as gay, but I do identify as bisexual, and that is something that I have never shared publicly before,” Gillum told journalist Tamron Hall in the interview on her eponymously named talk show, as reported by CNN.
The focus of the interview was on the incident that took place in March. Gillum was found allegedly too inebriated to talk in a South Beach hotel by police, as per Tallahassee Democrat. The website states, the police were responding to a call about a suspected drug overdose. There were two other men – one of them reportedly was a reputed male escort. After the incident, Gillum apologized and said he will enter rehab. In the interview, as per CNN, Gillum said, "Everyone believes the absolute worst about that day. At this stage, I don't have anything else to have to conceal. I literally got broken down to my most bare place, to the place where I wasn't even sure that I wanted to live. Not because of what I had done but because of everything that was being said about me."
According to Tallahassee Democrat, he ran for governor in 2018 and pulled off an upset over congresswoman Gwen Graham in the Democratic primary before losing to the Republican DeSantis 49.59% to 49.19% in the statewide election. In the interview, he stated the depression of losing the race to DeSantis by such a narrow margin as a reason for his life to spin out of control, resulting in that night in South Beach, as per the website.
Who is Andrew Gillum?
In 2003, at 23, Gillum was elected to the Tallahassee City Commission for a one-year term, becoming the youngest person to be elected to the commission. He was a political science student at FAMU when he was elected. In 2005, Gillum was one of the commissioners who voted to give themselves a new retirement benefit through deferred compensation. He later was the 126th mayor of Tallahassee, Florida from 2014 to 2018.
During his time as Mayor, Gillum started an initiative to encourage youth mentoring programs in Tallahassee. He partnered with Volunteer Florida and several local community agencies to reach the goal of attracting 1,000 new mentors, as per wfsu.org. “The youth of our community need guidance, encouragement, and support to dream bolder, and reach higher than they may think is possible,” said Gillum. “Mentors can serve as the catalyst for this way of thinking, and a powerful force in the development of young people in this community. Our goal is to recruit mentors from all backgrounds and experiences, to collectively invest in the future trajectory of our youth.”
According to New York Times, in 2016, he took a boat ride to the Statue of Liberty with a lobbyist who paid for the trip along with two developers who were actually undercover FBI agents investigating possible City Hall corruption. The incident was a cause of concern in his 2018 campaign, and Gillum, who was never criminally charged, paid a $5,000 state ethics fine for accepting the lobbyist’s gift.
He is married to R Jai Howard, a fellow FAMU graduate, and the couple has three children.
What happened in Miami hotel room?
As per NYT, Gillum was found by the police shortly after midnight vomiting on the bathroom floor of Room 1107 at the Mondrian South Beach. There was another man who had been struggling to breathe after a possible drug overdose. As per the report, prescription pills were spilled on the carpet. The police identified three clear plastic bags of what they suspected was crystal methamphetamine. “Mr Gillum was unable to communicate with officers due to his inebriated state,” the police report said.
The two other men who were with him that night were, as per Tallahassee Democrat, Travis Dyson, the reputed escort, and Aldo Mejias, a self-described Gillum friend who paid for the room, according to police reports. As per the website, when officers arrived, paramedics were treating Dyson for an alleged overdose. Gillum was too inebriated to speak, though he later appeared fine and left the hotel without incident, according to police reports. According to CNN, when Mejias arrived at the hotel room, he found Dyson and Gillum inside the room “under the influence of an unknown substance,” the police report said.
The Miami Beach Police Department had released photos and videos taken the night in response to public records requests from the Tallahassee Democrat and other news outlets. As per the website, none of the photos or videos, however, appeared to show a clear image of Gillum. The department said it redacted some video footage it considered exempt under Florida public records laws. Gillum in the recent interview said he is aware of some leaked photo of a naked man on the floor being circulated online. He said, "I understand very well what people assumed about that. When that photo came out, I didn’t recognize the person on the floor," he said. "That was not anything more than a person being at their most vulnerable state."