DeSantis says US should not accept refugees from Gaza

Oct 15, 2023, 2:25 PM | Updated: 2:30 pm

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, seen here on October 14, said Saturday that the US should not accept ref...

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, seen here on October 14, said Saturday that the US should not accept refugees from Gaza. Photo credit: Charlie Neibergall/AP

(CNN) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Saturday that the US should not accept refugees from Gaza, as tens of thousands flee their homes following an evacuation warning from Israel ahead of a possible ground assault.

“I don’t know what (President Joe) Biden’s gonna do, but we cannot accept people from Gaza into this country as refugees. I am not going to do that,” DeSantis, who is vying for the GOP presidential nomination, said at a campaign stop in Creston, Iowa.

“If you look at how they behave, not all of them are Hamas, but they are all antisemitic. None of them believe in Israel’s right to exist,” he continued.

DeSantis argued that Arab states should accept refugees from Gaza, who are attempting to cross south into Egypt, rather than refugees being “import(ed)” to the United States.

DeSantis’ characterization of Gaza residents is not supported by public polling on the issue. In a July poll by the pro-Israel organization the Washington Institute, 50% of Gazans agreed that “Hamas should stop calling for Israel’s destruction and instead accept a permanent two state solution based on the 1967 borders.”

Rival GOP presidential contender Nikki Haley on Sunday responded to DeSantis’ remarks by saying the United States “has always been sympathetic to the fact that you can separate civilians from terrorists,” adding that’s what Americans have to do following the Hamas attacks.

“You have to realize that whether we’re talking about Gazans and Palestinians. All of them don’t – you have half of them at the time that I was there, didn’t want to be under Hamas’ rule. They didn’t want to have terrorists overseeing them. They knew that they were living a terrible life because of Hamas,” Haley told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”

In the wake of the surprise attack on Israel last weekend by the militant group Hamas, DeSantis and other Republican presidential hopefuls have voiced strong support for Israel. DeSantis and others have used the attack to argue for hardline immigration policies and stronger border security in the US.

On Thursday, DeSantis pushed back when confronted by a voter at a market in Littleton, New Hampshire, who questioned Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in Gaza.

The voter said that he doesn’t condone what Hamas did or the “killing of any innocent civilians,” but that “Israel is doing the exact same thing with Benjamin Netanyahu, who is a radical, right-wing crazy person,” referring to the country’s prime minister.

“And I see hundreds of Palestinian families that are dead, and they have nowhere to go because they can’t leave Gaza, because no one’s opening their borders,” the voter said.

DeSantis said the voter made a “really good point” by bringing up neighboring countries, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

“Why aren’t these Arab countries willing to absorb some of the Palestinian Arabs? They won’t do it,” DeSantis said.

The pair continued to have a back-and-forth about the conflict. Before walking out of the market, the voter said: “You had my vote, but you don’t now.”

DeSantis has also taken steps as governor of Florida to evacuate state residents from Israel. He told reporters in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Friday that he anticipated the first evacuation flight would land in Florida on Sunday. At a campaign stop in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on Saturday night, he said evacuation flights have left Israeli airspace and are en route to Florida.

“We already have planes that have left Israel airspace and are on its way to Florida. We’re going to end up having hundreds and hundreds of Floridians that are going to be brought back to Florida in the ensuing days,” he told reporters.

DeSantis has also seized on former President Donald Trump’s criticism of Netanyahu, slamming the GOP front-runner repeatedly in media appearances and on the campaign trail.

“He attacked Bibi after the country suffered the worst attack it’s had in its modern history. … And he did that because Bibi did not – Bibi congratulated Biden in November. That’s why he did it. He hates Netanyahu because of that. That’s about him. That’s not about the greater good of what Israel is trying to do or American security,” DeSantis said Friday in New Hampshire.

KSL 5 TV Live


An artist's illustration depicts Voyager 1 as it travels through interstellar space, or the space b...

Ashley Strickland, CNN

Voyager 1 is sending data back to Earth for the first time in 5 months

For the first time in five months, NASA engineers have received decipherable data from Voyager 1 after crafting a creative solution to fix a communication problem aboard humanity’s most distant spacecraft in the cosmos.

5 hours ago

Some of Taylor Swift's most beloved songs are heart breaking -- and that can be helpful, experts sa...

Madeline Holcombe, CNN

Why everyone is crying to Taylor’s breakup songs

Fans were waiting with bated breath for the emotional torment they were sure would come from “The Tortured Poets Department,” Taylor Swift’s 11th studio album.

8 hours ago

The New Horizons spacecraft took an image of Pluto's heart on July 14, 2015. (Johns Hopkins Univers...

Ashley Strickland

Pluto gained a ‘heart’ after colliding with a planetary body

A huge heart-shaped feature on the surface of Pluto has intrigued astronomers since NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft captured it in a 2015 image. Now, researchers think they have solved the mystery of how the distinctive heart came to be.

11 hours ago

Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene on Sunday said House Speaker Mike Johnson “betrayed” Rep...

Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN

Marjorie Taylor Greene calls on Johnson to resign after foreign aid bills pass

Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene on Sunday said House Speaker Mike Johnson “betrayed” Republican voters after the House approved new aid to Ukraine, threatening to call a vote for his ouster if he doesn’t resign.

1 day ago

High school students taking College boards exams in 1964. (Warren K. Leffler, US News & World Repor...

Eva Rothenberg, CNN

Should the SAT still matter after all these years? Why some colleges are bringing it back

After decades of controversy over bias, the SAT is being brought back in commission by some colleges.

2 days ago

FILE: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked US lawmakers after they voted in favor of a ne...

Maria Kostenko, Andrew Carey, Frederik Pleitgen, Tamar Michaelis, Samantha Waldenberg and Daria Tarasova-Markina, CNN

Ukraine’s Zelensky and Israel’s Netanyahu hail House passage of $95 billion foreign aid package

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu have thanked US lawmakers after they voted in favor of new aid packages for their countries worth billions of dollars.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

DeSantis says US should not accept refugees from Gaza