Presidential candidate Ron DeSantis denounced President Biden over his support for Israel, saying the president is “floundering” amid Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza.
“He’s not doing what it takes to stand by Israel,” DeSantis said during a forum at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina Thursday evening. Blake Burman, host of “The Hill on NewsNation,” moderated the event.
The Biden administration has backed Israel in the conflict, which began earlier this month after Hamas militants left more than 1,300 Israelis dead in a surprise attack on towns and military bases near the Gaza border.
That support includes $10 billion in aid, which is expected to be announced Friday as part of a $100 billion budget request. Biden also announced a $100 million humanitarian aid package Wednesday for civilians in Gaza impacted by the conflict.
The Florida governor said the humanitarian aid — consisting mostly of water, food and medical supplies — will be “commandeered” by Hamas.
He also said that the U.S. should not accept refugees from Gaza displaced by the conflict, and called students in the U.S. protesting against American support for Israel a “disgrace,” adding that they should be punished.
“I can tell you this, If those students that are foreign that are here on a visa, if they’re doing Hamas’ bidding, when I become president I’m canceling their visa and I’m sending them home,” he said.
The Biden administration has not announced any plans to accept or reject Palestinian refugees from the conflict.
Biden visited Israel on Wednesday to meet with the country’s leaders and reiterated U.S. support for the country.
“I come to Israel with a single message: You are not alone,” Biden said while in Israel, adding that he would soon request support for Israel from Congress.
Biden outlined the specifics of the planned U.S. support for Israel during a Thursday evening address from the Oval Office.
During the address, Biden said he would send Congress a supplemental funding request Friday that would include “unprecedented commitment to Israel’s security.” The package will reportedly total $100 billion dollars and include money for Ukraine and allies in the Indo-Pacific, as well as humanitarian aid.
DeSantis said Biden needs to be tougher on Iran because of the conflict in Israel, claiming that Iran encouraged Hamas to attack the country. Iran has financially backed Hamas and other anti-Israel militant groups for years.
“[Biden] needs to shut off the oil money to Iran, take back the $6 billion, put them in a box so that they can’t fund Hamas and Hezbollah anymore. They did it because of his policies. That’s why this happened to begin with,” he said.
Last month, the Biden administration unfroze $6 billion in Iranian funds held in South Korean banks due to U.S. sanctions. That money was never accessed by Iran and could not have funded Hamas or other militant groups, the administration said, fighting back against claims from Republicans attacking the president.
DeSantis also perpetuated theories — with no known evidence to support them — that America’s enemies, including China, Russia and Iran, have sent agents into the U.S. illegally via the southern border “for the last two and a half to three years.”
“There will be a terrorist attack in this country, unfortunately, that will be able to trace back to the southern border. So we need to protect our own people,” he said.
“The Hill” show on NewsNation airs Monday to Friday at 5 p.m. EST.
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