AOC and DeSantis spar over refugees: After the Florida governor and presidential candidate declared that the United States should not accept any refugees from Gaza, the New York Congresswoman ripped him publicly.
AOC and Ron DeSantis Spar over Middle East War
The ongoing war between Israel and Hamas, amid its loss of life and numerous effects on geopolitical alliances, is also starting to seep into the 2024 presidential campaign.
Former President Donald Trump has made some odd statements, including praising Hezbollah and raising personal beefs with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Trump’s Republican opponents have attacked him for this, and Trump has taken a more traditionally pro-Israel tone in the days since.
Also this week, Gov. Ron DeSantis made a declaration that the United States should not accept refugees from Gaza.
“If you look at how [people in Gaza] behave, not all of them are Hamas, but they are all anti-Semitic,” DeSantis said in Iowa this week, per Politico. Instead, DeSantis proposed, “the Arab States” should take them in. Jordan and Egypt, however, have declared that they will not accept such refugees.
“This is a situation that has to be handled within Gaza and the West Bank,” Jordan’s King Abdullah II said this week, The Associated Press reported. “And you don’t have to carry this out on the shoulders of others.”
Both scenarios would require the war to still be ongoing, and still producing refugees, when the next presidential term begins more than a year from now, which may very well not be the case.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) ripped DeSantis’ comments in an appearance this week on CNN.
“I think there’s something to be said about the region’s partners being able to support and step up Palestinians,” the New York Congresswoman said. “However, that does not abdicate the United States from our historic role that we’ve played in the world of accepting refugees and allowing people to restart their lives here.”
“I also want to address something very specific about what Governor DeSantis said when he said quote, unquote, all Gazans are anti-Semitic – how incredibly destructive and dangerous that rhetoric is,” she added. “We just had a six-year-old boy stabbed 26 times this morning because of rhetoric like that and it is dangerous. It is unacceptable. It is reckless. And no leader in the United States of America should be amplifying a message like that.”
To be clear, Haley has not said that the U.S. should take Gazan refugees in, but rather that “we should care about the Palestinian citizens, and we should be sympathetic to the fact that you can separate civilians from terrorists.”
In a CNN interview, Haley declared that many Palestinians want Hamas to rule them no longer.
“Half of them, at the time that I was there, didn’t want to be under Hamas’ rule,” she said on the show. “They didn’t want to have terrorists overseeing them. They knew that they were living a terrible life under Hamas.” She did not, in that interview, say anything about wanting the U.S. to take in refugees from Gaza.
The DeSantis video, which has notably low and chintzy production values for something produced by a deep-pocketed presidential campaign Super PAC, then features DeSantis declaring that “she’s trying to be politically correct, she’s trying to please the media and people on the left.”
Many political observers also noted that the ad entails DeSantis, who is in second place in most polls, attacking Haley, who is in third place, rather than Donald Trump, who is comfortably ahead of both of them.
Haley “opposes the U.S. taking in Gazans. She thinks Hamas-supporting countries like Iran, Qatar, and Turkey should take any refugees,” her campaign told National Review.
One Republican operative went on to tell the publication that “it’s really outrageous that DeSantis and his online minions are straight-up lying about Nikki.”
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Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Stephen has authored thousands of articles over the years that focus on politics, technology, and the economy for over a decade. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter) at @StephenSilver, and subscribe to his Substack newsletter.