Florida Governor DeSantis in Jerusalem, Blasts Biden, Praises Trump
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and his wife were in Jerusalem this week for Israel’s 75th anniversary. DeSantis, a possible challenger to former President Donald Trump for a Republican bid for the White House, was the keynote speaker at a gala honoring Israel.
At a press conference on Thursday, DeSantis, 44, refused to confirm whether or not he would be running for president. He did take several swings at the Biden administration and praised Trump for his Middle East policies.
“There’s not been anything set. I’ve been focused on this mission that we’ve been doing [focusing on US-Israel relations].”
On Tuesday, US President Joe Biden announced he would be running for re-election. DeSantis believes that the Biden administration has diminished the gains made in the Middle East by the previous Trump administration.
“Prior to this administration taking office, the Middle East was probably in as good a shape as it’s been in in a long time. I think that this administration has worked overtime to alienate the Saudis,” DeSantis said, refering to Saudi Arabia’s renewed relations with Iran.
The Florida governor lauded Israel’s efforts to normalize relations with Saudi Arabia.
“Absolutely I think with proper policy and proper relations, you could see Saudi Arabia recognize the existence of Israel.”
DeSantis also criticized the Obama administration’s handling of Iran and praised Trump’s tactics with the Islamic Republic. “We saw the failure with the Iranian nuclear deal that was done in 2015 that flooded Iran with money, that rejuvenated their economy, and that led to the funding of terrorism all across the Middle East,” DeSantis said.
“During the previous administration, the Trump administration, Iran was on the ropes. Iran was in dire straits because there was an effort to hold them accountable.”
DeSantis also spoke of the Trump administration’s decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem—“the eternal capital of the Jewish people. My view is that the United States should be a strong ally to Israel, but we should not butt into their internal affairs. Our task as Americans is standing strongly and forthrightly with Israel.”
In 2019, DeSantis promised to be “the most pro-Israel governor in America.” Prior to the press conference, the governor announced several new initiatives between Florida and Israel—new flight simulators for El Al in Israel, a collaboration on neurological disease research between Florida Atlantic University and Israel’s Insightec, and a new partnership between Florida and Israel focused on health care.
DeSantis’s trip to Israel was part of an international tour, including stops in South Korea, Japan, and the United Kingdom. It is anticipated that he will announce his run for president in May after the Florida legislative session concludes.