GOP Presidential contender Ron DeSantis has defended his decision to ban pro-Hamas groups from Florida’s universities. In an interview with NBC’s Kristen Welker, DeSantis said he was not promoting “cancel culture” in demanding the closure of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) groups because they are providing support to terrorists, which is a criminal offense. “You have a right to go out and demonstrate, but you can’t provide material support to terrorism,” he said.
Mr. DeSantis also addressed his continued presence in the Presidential primary race despite his falling numbers and Donald Trump’s growing support. Welker asked if he believed Donald Trump would succumb to his mountain of legal problems, and he denied this, saying Trump’s legal woes were, in fact, helping him. “I think that had Alvin Bragg not politicized this back in April, I think that probably the primary be looking different,” he said, referring to the Manhattan District Attorney that first indicted President Trump.
In contrast to DeSantis’ ban on SJP, fellow candidate Vivek Ramaswamy released a video on Twitter saying the Floridian was infringing upon free speech rights. He called SJP “idiotic,” but said this was no excuse to prevent them from using their First Amendment liberties. “Free speech rights are really about protecting the speech we disagree with most,” he added.
Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, whose pull numbers are rising, has taken a firm stance and said she will redefine antisemitism at a federal level to include opposition to the existence of the state of Israel. She lashed out at students defending Hamas and said they were siding with “savages.” Haley described the war in the Middle East as a “battle between good and evil,” and America must stand on the side of good.
The youth campaign group Students for Haley agreed with their candidate and condemned any support for the terrorist group Hamas. “There is no moral equivalence” between Hamas and Israel, the group said.