Gov. DeSantis signs anti-hate legislation in Jerusalem with GOP Reps. Randy Fine and Mike Caruso (photo credit: Randy Fine’s Twitter page)
In another blow to GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign, provocateur state Rep. Randy Fine switched his endorsement Tuesday from the Florida governor to former President Donald J. Trump.
In an editorial for The Washington Times entitled “Donald Trump has never let us down,” Fine, a Jewish Republican, said that the aftermath of Hamas’ terrorist attack on Israel finalized the change of heart. While Gov. DeSantis talks about defending Israel and Jewish Floridians, Fine wrote, Trump has done so in more ways than just rhetoric.
“The past two weeks have made me realize our choice as Jews is simple. We can vote for the Governor who says all the right things, or we can vote for the President who actually does them. When it comes to action, Donald Trump has never let us down,” Fine said in his opinion piece published Monday.
Fine, who represents part of Brevard County, criticized DeSantis for not combating anti-Semitism by not speaking out about Nazi demonstrations and not breaking ground on a state Holocaust memorial. In contrast, Fine wrote, Trump recognized Jerusalem, allowed for Israeli annexation of the Golan Heights and mediated the Abraham Accords.
The Trump campaign, which has made a point to bully DeSantis throughout the Republican presidential primary, quickly bragged about the endorsement in a Tuesday press release.
Fine and DeSantis have always been considered arm-in-arm regarding Florida policy and the culture war. Fine said the governor approached him about the opening for FAU’s president job, which is still on hold; and Fine has spoken out against drag shows and transgender rights.
In addition, Fine himself is no stranger to religious discrimination – however, he was the one perpetrating it. In 2021, the Council on American-Islamic Relations filed a complaint against Fine to a state House committee. The complaint featured social media posts from Fine calling Palestinians “animals” and responding to comments asking about Palestinian rights with: “#BlowThemUp.”
Meanwhile, the governor has also been outspoken in his support for Israel. He visited the country in 2019 on a “historic business development mission” – a trip Fine accompanied him on.
And in April 2023, Rep. Fine attended an event in Jerusalem, by DeSantis’ side, while marking Israel’s 75th anniversary as a country.
DeSantis just recently called for a special legislative session in November to “ensure Florida does not do business with companies aligned with Iran that could in turn fund Hamas and other terrorist groups,” according to the governor’s press release.
On Oct. 9, Florida education officials penned a letter to the university system, reminding them their “Legal Obligations to Protect Jewish Students,” by enforcing legislation signed by Gov. DeSantis – much of which has to do with criticism of Israel.
“Anti-Semitic conduct also includes conduct related to Israel,” the letter says, includes “applying a double standard to Israel by requiring behavior of Israel that is not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation, or focusing peace or human rights investigations only on Israel,” and “delegitimizing Israel by denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination and denying Israel the right to exist.”
The majority of the Florida Legislature has endorsed DeSantis as of May, and 13 Floridians in Congress have endorsed Trump for president, while DeSantis has nabbed only one. A FiveThirtyEight polling average has the former president ahead of DeSantis by about 30 percentage points in Iowa; and has DeSantis in third place behind Trump and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley in New Hampshire.
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