A Florida businessman seeking to replace Marco Rubio in the U.S. Senate is standing by his remark calling President Barack Obama an "animal."
GOP and Democratic candidates running against homebuilder Carlos Beruff called his remarks insulting and offensive.
In a speech to a Republican group at a St. John's County gathering Thursday, the GOP candidate criticized Obama as an "animal" who has "destroyed the country and dismantled the military under not one, not two, but three secretary of defenses."
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"Sooner or later, you’re going to find, this was a plan, he wants us to be just another country. I don’t want to be another country. I want to be the United States of America, the greatest country in the world," he added.
U.S. Rep. David Jolly, a Republican, and U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, a Democrat, called on Beruff to apologize. Both are running for the Senate seat.
Todd Wilcox, one of the GOP candidates also seeking the post, said that "name calling for shock value" isn't going to solve the nation's problems.
Beruff, in a statement, stood by his remarks, which were first reported by The Huffington Post.
The White House declined comment.