Rivalry between DeSantis and Haley intensifies and attacks focus on Israel | ET REALITY


With that promotion, she has come under increased scrutiny. After the second debate last month, the former president attacked her as a “mastermind” on social media, and Haley accused her campaign of sending a cage and birdseed to her hotel.

Although DeSantis has received attacks from his rivals on the debate stage, including some from Haley, he has largely avoided engaging in heated exchanges, a stance that is in line with his long-standing insistence that the primary is a two-candidate contest. between him and Mr. Trump. But Haley’s rise (and his decision to focus his fire on the Florida governor) has clearly forced the DeSantis campaign and his allies to recalculate.

DeSantis’ super PAC, Never Back Down, reported spending nearly $1 million against Haley this week, after dedicating just $29,000 to anti-Haley messages during the first half of the year.

The recent exchanges were spurred by television appearances over the weekend about the deepening humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Last week, DeSantis doubled down on his opposition to helping some of the nearly one million people facing shortages of food, clean water and shelter in the region. He described the culture of the Gaza Strip as “toxic” and argued that the people of Gaza “teach children to hate Jews.” Ms. Haley rejected this view, saying that a large percentage of Palestinians did not support Hamas and that “the United States has always been sympathetic to the fact that you can separate civilians from terrorists.” (Polls in Gaza supports statement by Ms. Haley.)

But in an interview on Fox News On Tuesday, DeSantis presented his words as evidence that he supported allowing refugees from Gaza to come to the United States. This week’s Never Back Down ad spliced ​​clips of Ms. Haley with comments from Mr. DeSantis criticizing her in an NBC interview. “She’s trying to be politically correct,” he says in the ad. “She’s trying to please the media and people on the left.”

Haley’s campaign has responded with several emails to supporters and the media, citing fact-checkers who found that DeSantis got his wrong statements and rejecting what his campaign officials have described as DeSantis’ consistent mischaracterizations of his statements and record.

Spokespeople for both the DeSantis campaign and Never Back Down maintain that their criticisms of Haley are accurate.

As governor, Ms. Haley at times expressed the need for the United States to be a welcoming nation for immigrants and refugees. In 2015, she supported the efforts of religious groups to resettle people in South Carolina. But Haley took an aggressive stance against resettling Syrians in his state after the terrorist attacks in Paris that same year, citing gaps in intelligence that could hinder the investigation process.

Now, under fire from DeSantis, her campaign has underscored her hardline record as governor on immigration policies and portrayed her as nothing more than adamantly opposed to taking in people from the Middle East. “The truth is that Haley has always opposed settling Middle Eastern refugees in the United States, believing that Arab countries in the region should absorb them,” she read in an email to reporters.

The disputes highlight how, although Republicans remain divided over other features of Trump’s isolationist “America First” agenda, they have united behind his hardline approach to immigration and the nation’s borders, with DeSantis and Haley largely aligned in their calls to keep refugees away from the conflict zone.

Is widely seen as unlikely that Gaza refugees will head to the United States in the short term. Still, at a DeSantis campaign event in South Carolina on Thursday, the crowd applauded when DeSantis promised that as president he would accept “zero” people from Gaza, adding that he opposed “importing the pathologies of the Middle East into our country.” ”. .” He also said that any American aid sent to Gaza would end up in the hands of Hamas.

Rick McConnell, a 70-year-old Air Force veteran who heard DeSantis speak, said he understood that Gazans needed food, water and medical supplies. But McConnell said Iran (which he believed was responsible for the brutal Hamas attacks) should provide that help.

“Why can’t they help them?” Mr. McConnell said. “We have veterans sleeping on the streets: our veterans.”

The concerns were echoed at Ms. Haley’s events. “If you live in Gaza, I don’t think you love America or are a Christian,” said Corrine Rothchild, 69, a retired elementary school teacher who was still weighing her vote between Haley and DeSantis.

DeSantis, who served on the Foreign Affairs Committee during his tenure in the House of Representatives, has tried to distinguish himself on foreign policy, pointing to restrictions he signed in Florida that prohibited land purchases by many Chinese citizens and calling for the use of military force against the Mexican drug cartels. In the last week, he also used state funds to charter flights that have brought home hundreds of Americans stranded in Israel.

Haley has also tried to make her foreign policy credentials, tough stances toward China and strong support for Israel central to her campaign. As Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, Haley spoke forcefully in support of his formal recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, as well as her decision to cut US funding to Palestinian refugees.

The two have argued about foreign policy before. He has criticized Mr. DeSantis for his support of Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama and its control of military nominations over a policy that covers travel expenses for service members seeking reproductive health care services, including abortions, in other states. He also attacked DeSantis’ stance on the war in Ukraine, which he called a “territorial dispute” that was not central to U.S. interests, a characterization he later walked back.

In recent days, both have also disparaged Trump for comments he made after the Hamas attack criticizing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and referring to Hezbollah, the Iran-backed militant group, as “very smart.” Trump has since retracted his comments. He has also pledged to turn away refugees from Gaza.

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