Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis said that the U.S. needs to constantly be “turning the screws” on the Islamic Republic of Iran after Iranian-backed Palestinian terrorists launched widespread attacks throughout Israel on Saturday, resulting in deaths of hundreds of innocent civilians.
Approximately 300 Israelis, mostly civilians, were killed from the attacks and nearly 2,000 more have been confirmed to be injured. Those numbers are expected to continue rising as the attacks happened simultaneously throughout the country and some communities were completely overtaken by Hamas.
“I think the most important thing is that we remain unequivocal in that we’re united as a country in saying, ‘Israel not only has a right to defend itself, they have a duty to defend themselves to the hilt by using overwhelming force,’ because what’s happened for really decades is there will be terrorism against Israel, they will respond, but it’s always Israel gets attacked for responding,” DeSantis told The Daily Wire in an exclusive interview. “And so they face all these constraints, getting condemned by the U.N., Europeans, all these different things and we just have to be willing to stand with them and say they have to deal with the problem of Hamas.”
The 45-year-old Florida governor called Hamas’ targeting of women and children “evil, evil stuff” and that the only appropriate response involved using “overwhelming force against” the terrorists.
DeSantis slammed President Joe Biden loosening sanctions on Iran and for unfreezing $6 billion in Iranian oil revenues last month, saying that it doesn’t matter if those exact funds were used to finance this attack because money is fungible “so that $6 billion is used for other things, it frees up money that Iran was going to spend” on other things.
DeSantis warned about the $6 billion payment to Iran two months ago in early August, a month before former President Donald Trump posted a similar warning in mid-September.
Biden is shamefully caving to Iran’s blackmail and extortion. Rewarding Iran for taking Americans hostage incentivizes more hostage-taking.
The $6 billion ransom payment will help Iran build nuclear weapons, support terrorism, oppress the Iranian people, and assist Russia.…
— Ron DeSantis (@RonDeSantis) August 10, 2023
“I think that you need to turn the screws on Iran always, not just in response to this, that should have been what happened for Biden’s whole presidency, he should have turned the screws on them, because them getting a financial lifeline, whether it’s through their oil, whether it’s through some of the things that Biden’s done, that will be used for bad purposes,” DeSantis told The Daily Wire. “It’s a terrorist regime. That’s what they’re going to do. So yes, I would turn the screws on them with every mechanism that we have, I’d make sure that they’re in a box and make it very difficult for them to operate with respect to advancing terrorism in the region.”
DeSantis pointed out that, if adjusted for population size, the terrorist attacks against Israel were “equivalent of multiple 9/11s,” and that the attacks were “a mark in history”.
“That region will never be the same as a result of this,” he said. “And Israel will never be the same as a result of this. And so we’ll be standing by, they’re a great ally, they’re a great friend. When I’m president, we’ll definitely have an ironclad relationship, and that’ll be good for U.S., it’ll be good for Israel, and it’ll be good for the Middle East.”
He also said that the state of Florida has “activated” measures to ensure that the Jewish community is safe, although they have not made any announcements because there was no active threat and they did not want to cause any unnecessary worry for residents.
He also said touted Florida’s history of collaborating with Israel and said that the state stands ready to provide assistance to Israel after Israel sent the IDF to help Florida with its search and rescue operation when the Surfside Tower collapsed in June 2021.