(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

2024 GOP presidential candidate Governor Ron DeSantis spoke to Brian Kilmeade about the latest with Israel and Hamas. DeSantis says it is important for America to stand with Israel, especially with the media jumping to conclusions and blaming Israel for the missile that landed in a hospital. It shows Israel is up against a bias media and international intelligentsia. DeSantis does not agree with President Biden visiting Israel and said if he was president he would be working with Israel from the White House. DeSantis believes the Biden administration is being a hindrance to Israel behind the scenes by making it difficult for them to end this conflict once and for all. DeSantis also reiterated his stance on not letting any refugees from Gaza into the United States and his belief Nikki Haley wants to allow refugees into America from Gaza. On the 60 Minutes feature focusing on Florida sending migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, DeSantis said he did not watch but pointed to their lack of credibility on how they covered his response to COVID.

On the upcoming 3rd GOP presidential primary debate in Miami, DeSantis says former President Trump is missing in action again by not participating in any debate. DeSantis also discussed how the former President did not live up to his promise of building a border wall and having Mexico pay for it. DeSantis pushed back at the assertion that then Speaker of the House Paul Ryan gave $1.4 billion for the wall which forced Trump to have to repurpose defense funds to help build a portion of the border wall. DeSantis feels Trump should have told Ryan he wouldn’t do his tax bill. DeSantis also called Ryan a pre-Trump establishment republican.

Plus, DeSantis on how he is proud of the University of Florida coming out strongly in favor of Israel and how his administration has worked hard to get universities away from being indoctrination centers.

Rough transcript below

Brian Kilmeade [00:00:00] Governor Ron DeSantis, who wants to be the would get the Republican nomination for president United States and be the next president, United States. Joining us now. Governor, I don’t know if you’re able to you near a screen at all or by your phone watching, but you see in these protests outside our embassy in Lebanon, we’ve got some Marines on the inside. But that’s a scary situation.

Ron DeSantis [00:00:20] Yeah, no doubt. But I think a lot of that has been fueled by what you pointed out. You had media organizations jumping the gun, pursuing a narrative about this hospital, basically taking the word of Hamas for it, that this was somehow an IDF strike on a hospital when in fact it was a rocket fired by Palestinian Islamic Jihad that misfired and and hit the hospital. And so the media ran with that. That stoked a lot of rage throughout the region, and it was false. So I think this shows Israel what they’re up against because they obviously have to conduct operations to be able to eliminate Hamas and eliminate that threat once and for all. But they are going to be fighting in an environment where so much of the media is going to be arrayed against them. So much of the intelligentsia, internationally, United Nations, all these different things. And it’s just important that America stand with them, have moral clarity and say, you know what, they were the victims of this attack. They have a right to protect their people. They have a right to see this through.

Brian Kilmeade [00:01:26] Yeah, I would think so. Governor, So we’ll see that what’s going on? We also see some uprisings on the West Bank, Hezbollah as daily skirmishes with the IDF on the north end of the south. I think the land invasion was probably put off because President Biden came to town. Here’s what President Biden said this morning when he was. I’ve got one.

Speaker 3 [00:01:47] Mr. Prime Minister, thank you very much. But folks, I wanted to be here today for a simple reason. I want the people of Israel, the people of the world to know where the United States stands. I remember my great secretary of state here. He’s been here for a lot, but I wanted to personally come and make that clear.

Brian Kilmeade [00:02:09] Was it the right message?

Ron DeSantis [00:02:12] Well, it’s interesting, Brian, because, you know, they will say U.S. stands with Israel, but what are they doing behind the scenes? What they’re doing behind the scenes is really trying to restrain Israel. They want to be able to continue incredibly. They want to be able to continue attempts to have a reproach summit with Iran. They have not done anything to snap sanctions on Iran. They haven’t done things to dry up some of the money that Iran has been sending to the Middle East. So I think that they’re behind the scenes making life more difficult for Israel to be able to conduct the operations that are going to be necessary to bring this problem to a conclusion once and for all. I mean, if you go in, just do some glancing blows, do some damage, you know, Hamas will come back and then they’re going to do it again. So we’ve got to stop the cycle. And I don’t think privately the administration is doing what is conducive to that. I think they’re more of a hindrance to Israel at this point.

Brian Kilmeade [00:03:07] Right. In a way that before he got on board and one time when he was in the air, he found out that Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority of all refused to see him because they said the hospital attack by the IDF, which didn’t happen. So what do you do if it’s governor who sends his president to say, a test? You decide to go to Israel, but you want to do some diplomacy with our so-called allies outside the Palestinian Authority and they tell them, we don’t want to see you should you’ve turned around.

Ron DeSantis [00:03:35] Well, here’s the thing. I’m not sure it was a good idea to go there and inject yourself into a situation like that. I mean, we can do policy without doing that. When the president shows up, it creates all kind of complications. I mean, for example, we’ve been rescuing people from Israel. One of our flights now is on hold because of the airspace issues with with Biden. So it creates a whole host of complications. You put yourself in a situation where it’s a very dynamic of I would be doing it probably from the White House. I would be working with with Egypt and Jordan. I mean, they’re allies. I think it’s interesting that they don’t want anything to do with Palestinian Arabs leaving the Gaza Strip, going in to their countries. I mean, you would think that this has been a cause celeb throughout the Arab world for so many years with the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinian Arabs, and yet they say absolutely zero, not one refugee. And I think that that’s instructive because I think that they viewed as refugees as creating a problem for their society if they were do. That’s why I came out. I was the first presidential candidate to say we are not bringing to the United States these Palestinian Arabs if they leave the Gaza Strip. I know there are people in the United States like the squad and people on the far left that are saying we should import a million people from the Gaza Strip. That’s a total nonstarter. We will not do any when I’m president.

Brian Kilmeade [00:04:57] Well, I mean, and people were upset by that. They. Margaret Brennan was taking you on on Face the Nation on Sunday. She obviously didn’t like that. I don’t think she’s in sync with the American people. I think there are more Democrats now getting involved and saying what the hell is going on in our border now and who is coming through.

Ron DeSantis [00:05:14] And also, Brian, you know, the point that, you know, Brennan was trying to make and then Nikki Haley tried to make it this weekend, although she’s backtracked and said, well, you know, you have some people with Hamas, but then you have others that are more interested in freedom and all this stuff. And that’s actually not the question. Obviously, you wouldn’t import a terrorist, but if you’re importing people from Gaza that have been taught to hate Jews that don’t believe Israel has a right to exist, that think that, you know, Israel needs to be destroyed. We’re importing pathologies from that part of the world to our country. And that’s not in the interest of the American people. The American people will not benefit from that. So. So I’ve said absolutely not. Now, I agree with you. I think most Americans are Republicans, independents, and now even a lot of Democrats understand when you see some of these protests and these demonstrations in our own country, when the blood wasn’t even dry from these Israelis who were massacred over there, you had people taking to the streets praising Hamas in defense of Hamas. How do we get to that point where that happened? So I think people are like, we’ve really got to take seriously who’s coming into our country. Yes, illegally across the border, but who are we intentionally importing with some of the things that have happened over the last many years? And so so that’s the right decision. Now, the elites, the elites don’t care about the American people. They have their own agenda. So elite media and other elites in government, they would have a different view than me. But but my view, I think, is is what has support from a broad cross-section of the American public.

Brian Kilmeade [00:06:49] So, you know, Governor Santos said the thing that surprised me most about this whole thing has been the protests. I mean, I walked down in Times Square six blocks from where I am right now, and there’s a huge rally in support of what Hamas did in New York City. And it didn’t stop there. There was two more yesterday. There were dueling protests, pro Hamas, pro-Israel at Washington Square Park in New York City. You know, it’s happening all over the country. And now you have an Ivy League background. You got Yale and Harvard in your background. Both colleges seem to be have professors and student bodies that are pro-Palestinian pro Hamas. How does that happen?

Ron DeSantis [00:07:25] It’s unbelievable. You know, I joke with people. I say, you know, on the campaign trail, like, look, I’m one of the few people that have gotten through Harvard. And Yale came out more conservative than when I went in. And that’s not easy to do because of the leftist viewpoints, But I will say is left as it was when I was going through that and I rejected it and it kind of made me more conservative. It’s gotten a lot worse in the last couple of decades. I mean, it’s gotten to the point, you know, I don’t think after 911, you had protests on Ivy League campuses praising what had happened with praising the terrorists or doing anything like that. Now you have protesters praising brutal terrorists on those campuses signing letters. And I think it’s totally appropriate. And indeed, these businesses should be doing that. If there are students that are signing that in defense of Hamas, they they get offers of employment rescinded, they get fired from internships and all those other things. That’s a no brainer. I mean, just imagine how Ivy League universities would respond or how they’ve responded in other situations. This one is one of the most egregious things you can imagine. And yet they’re so quiet with it. I will tell you this, though. Brian in Florida, If you look at the statements that were put out by the University of Florida president, Florida state president, you know, they came out very strongly against Hamas and very strongly in favor of Israel and our Jewish students. And I was proud to see that we worked really hard to get our universities away from being indoctrination centers and focusing on the classic mission, classical mission of pursuing truth and preparing our kids to be citizens of the republic. And I think you see a paying off in how they responded to this.

Brian Kilmeade [00:09:02] Well, that’s foreign policy question. You know, we know Iran is our real enemy. We know Iran is the enemy of most in the Middle East. That is what the Abraham Accords were based off of a common enemy, Iran, not Israel. So having said that, you’ve seen the the the re approach men from the Biden administration from now on, if you got this ball in the Middle East, which is a ball of fire right now, knowing Iran finances Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, as well as Hamas and who knows what other group. And Wall Street Journal says they orchestrated this whole thing using their Revolutionary Guard force soleimani’s replacement. And they did it in Beirut. And there’s been no pursuit to find out about the genesis of that story. How do you handle this without causing a world war or do you risk it?

Ron DeSantis [00:09:49] Well, look, you assume this could not have happened without Iranian patronage. I mean, the idea that this is even a question is a joke. Of course they do that all the. So been fomented. The Middle East in the last 25 years overwhelmingly has been Iran. I mean, when I was in Iraq serving on active duty, there was a lot of attention on the Sunni jihadists, the Al Qaida in Iraq. And they were they were a force. But most of our own combat deaths at the time were from Iranian funded militias, people that were directed by Suleimani. So they have a lot of American blood on their hands. They did the Beirut bombing and our Marines in 83, they funded Hezbollah in that. This is just what they do. So what Biden needs to do now is to reverse his policies that have given sustenance to the regime, put them in a financial box. That’s one of the reasons I want to increase our energy production at home, because when we’re energy dominant, that’s bad for Russia, Iran, China and Venezuela. If you pursue a Green New Deal in this country, just understand you are benefiting Iran, you are benefiting Russia, you are benefiting China. So reversing the nation’s energy policy, being independent and dominant I think is very important. But I think it’s choking them off on that. And I do think getting a Saudi Israeli peace deal, I think it’s complicated now given what’s going on. But I think Biden dropped the ball on that. He could have done that in his first year. That creates the front of the Gulf Arab states, Israel, the United States, against Iran. It makes it harder for the Iranians to to do what they want to do in the region when you have a united front.

Brian Kilmeade [00:11:24] Have you qualified for the debates already?

Ron DeSantis [00:11:26] Oh, yeah. Yep.

Brian Kilmeade [00:11:27] So you’re going to be the fourth debate and you got a field of about eight right now.

Ron DeSantis [00:11:31] Third, Third debate.

Brian Kilmeade [00:11:33] Third debate. So we get the third debate. So what do you think? What is the game plan to closing the gap with the former president?

Ron DeSantis [00:11:42] Well, one, I think just the fact that he’s been missing in action on so much of this stuff, you know, he doesn’t think he needs to go out and debate. And I don’t think that that’s what I’m seeing on the ground in Iowa and New Hampshire. I think those voters think you have to earn their vote. So I’m showing up not only at debates, but I’m do I’ve done 80 of the 99 counties in Iowa. I’m going to do all 99. I’ll be the only candidate to do that. And we’re starting a big New Hampshire push with the town halls and everything. So that’s really what you what you have to do. You know, on this issue, what we’ve seen here, you know, I’ve been leading on it. We led on the refugees. Now, every candidate’s followed suit. We’ve led on planting the flag. Say don’t send aid to the Gaza Strip. All that’s going to do is Hamas is going to commandeer that and they’re going to use that. You seek the the the release of hostages and the unconditional defeat of Hamas. And that should be our focus, not sending money that they’re going to be able to use. So we’re really leading on these issues. I think the debate will show that we’ve been able to lead on these issues. And, look, people are going to have to make a judgment now that we’re getting closer. You are seeing more voters pay closer attention. And I think the question is, as you know, we’ve got to win this election in 2024. I’ve got a great record of political success. But more importantly than that, we’ve got to deliver on all these things. Brian, we talk about it. You know, this border, remember that was Donald Trump’s number one promise. And had he built the wall and had Mexico pay for it, Biden would not have been able to get away with all the nonsense he’s done. So we’ve got to deliver. And I have a record of delivering on 100% of my promises as governor in a way that no governor has been able to do and will do the same thing as president. I think that’s what people want to see.

Brian Kilmeade [00:13:22] But as you know, Paul Ryan gave a $1.4 billion. He had to repurpose defense funds because nobody came across for them.

Ron DeSantis [00:13:29] What does he think about be able to buy it? Are you a leader or not? Do you get things done? Are you not? I mean, that’s an excuse that, oh, you know, you had a Republican Congress. You’re the leader. You need to deliver this. This should have been a day one priority. He should have declared it a national emergency on day one. He could have repurposed funds on day one if he wanted to do it. And he could have told Paul Ryan, I’m not doing your tax bill. I’m not doing anything until you deliver what we need to do. And he didn’t turn those screws on them. He really turned the legislative agenda over to Ryan. And Ryan didn’t want a wall. Ryan was a pre-Trump Republican. He was an establishment Republican. He was weak on immigration. So that was that’s you know, it’s all about leadership. So are you delivering the results or not? And like, I don’t want to be in a situation where we’re making excuses again about why things haven’t gotten done. You got to find a way to get things done.

Brian Kilmeade [00:14:17] I know you’re busy, but on Sunday, 60 Minutes did a whole feature on immigration. Know what they focused on the flights to Martha’s Vineyard. Do you think they’re they are targeting you because of the way you went back at them when they tried to nail you on the vaccines?

Ron DeSantis [00:14:33] I didn’t I don’t watch 60 Minutes. I did. I didn’t see what was happening. But, you know, I think that they’ve obviously not not covered themselves in glory with a lot of the things that they’ve done. When they tried to target me over the COVID stuff, it really blew up in their face. And so, you know, I think a lot of they’ve lost a lot of credibility over the years.

Brian Kilmeade [00:14:51] All right, Governor, what your final message. I know you got to run.

Ron DeSantis [00:14:55] No excuses. In 24, we got to get the job done. I’ll get the job done, and I won’t let you down as president.

Brian Kilmeade [00:15:01] Thanks. It’s going to be hard work, I’ll tell you that. Governor Ron DeSantis, thanks so much.