Florida governor and Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis got into a testy exchange with a voter in New Hampshire over bombings in Gaza, that ended with the GOP presidential hopeful losing a vote.
Israel has launched a series of airstrikes on Gaza after Hamas, a terrorist group that controls Gaza, attacked the country on Saturday killing more than 1,000 Israelis and capturing several hostages.
DeSantis was on the campaign trail in Littleton, New Hampshire on Thursday when he was approached by a man identified by The New York Times as Ron Lahout, 65, an Arab American ski shop owner.
Lahout asked DeSantis what he thought about the “annihilation and decapitation” of Palestinians in Gaza.
“But they are not decapitating babies’ heads. They are not intentionally doing that,” DeSantis responded.
Lahout cited Al Jazeera, causing DeSantis to push back, telling him to “be careful with Al Jazeera” because it is “funded by a lot of these Middle East governments.”
“I don’t think they’re faking pictures of families burying their babies,” Lahout responded. “Israel has been killing Palestinians for the whole time Gaza has existed, and they’ve been contained in a prison.”
“Israel put out a warning: ‘We’re gonna go in this area. Civilians, leave.’ Hamas tells them not to leave,” DeSantis said. “Hamas wants them to be human shields. That’s their tactic, technique and procedure. Who — how many other armed forces give warnings to get out before they go? I think Israel’s probably the only one in the world that does that.”
Lahout contended that Palestinians have nowhere to go “because no one’s opening their borders.”
“You bring up a good point there, you bring up a really good point. Why aren’t these Arab countries willing to absorb some of the Palestinian Arabs? They will not do it. None of the Arab countries will be able to accept refugees,” DeSantis said.
“You had my vote, but you don’t now,” Lahout said then walked away.