Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has fallen well behind President Trump in the race to become the Republican candidate for President.
In an attempt to improve his polling numbers, DeSantis announced on Thursday that he sent military equipment to Israel.
As Florida sent planes over to rescue Americans and bring them home to safety, the state also worked to help private parties get donated supplies over to Israel. https://t.co/qUNNiuotN7
— DeSantis War Room 🐊 (@DeSantisWarRoom) October 26, 2023
At the time of the announcement, DeSantis said that he had worked with Israel’s consul general in Miami to send military equipment, including drones, body armor, and helmets.
However, his claim unraveled quickly when Israel’s consul general, Maor Elbaz-Starinsky, told reporters that he had not asked for DeSantis’ help.
Elbaz-Starinsky also said that the governor’s involvement was limited to smoothing paperwork requirements for a previously arranged shipment of “rifle parts” ordered by his government.
From The Hill:
Maor Elbaz-Starinsk told The Associated Press that he did not request drones, body armor, or helmets. He also said he did not talk to DeSantis about getting weapons or ammunition through private parties.
“Nothing went through me,” Elbaz-Starinsky told the AP. “We were never in communication on any shipments of arms or ammunition. The only thing that I have dealt with sending is medical supplies.”
DeSantis has made hardline support of Israel a prominent part of his flailing campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, pledging to turn away Palestinian refugees if he was in the White House, and expelling pro-Palestinian student groups from Florida’s university campuses.
When I’m President, if foreign students are out there celebrating terrorism, I will cancel their visas and send them home. pic.twitter.com/BPcVls2w7e
— Ron DeSantis (@RonDeSantis) October 21, 2023
Critics of DeSantis have accused him of acting as if he were president, and operating a de facto foreign policy from the governor’s mansion.
He has been trying to paint himself as tougher on terrorists than President Trump.
DeSantis: When I’m President, “if somebody harms a U.S. service member — harms one hair on their head — they will have hell to pay.” pic.twitter.com/2YOFNGLQk1
— DeSantis War Room 🐊 (@DeSantisWarRoom) October 27, 2023
From The Guardian:
“President Biden is the commander in chief of our military, not Ron DeSantis,” said Nikki Fried, chair of the Florida Democratic Party, in a statement to the Miami Herald.
“As a Navy veteran, Ron should understand the importance of respecting the chain of command. This is a gross breach of norms and a potential violation of federal laws governing the shipment of weapons.”
John Kirby, strategic communications director for the National Security Council, told reporters at the White House on Thursday that he could not be certain DeSantis had “checked all the boxes”.
“It is not illegal for the governor of a state to offer a measure of foreign assistance to another country [but] there are laws and regulations which govern how the export process is handled,” he said.
“That’s all done through commerce. I couldn’t speak with authority today about whether the governor has checked all those boxes or not.”