Ron DeSantis Responds to Nikki Haley and Explains Why the U.S. Should Not Accept Refugees from Gaza

In the wake of the Hamas terror attacks last Saturday, Israel issued an evacuation warning to those living in northern Gaza ahead of a possible ground invasion. Tens of thousands are fleeing their homes, but, with the borders of Israel and Egypt closed, there are questions about where the refugees should go. 

While it remains to be seen what the Biden administration’s policy will be, members of ‘The Squad’ like Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) are calling for the United States to welcome them. This has also become a topic of debate in GOP presidential politics with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley seemingly taking opposing sides.

On Tuesday’s show, Gov. DeSantis joined Megyn to explain why he does not believe the U.S. should accept refugees from Gaza and what Haley got wrong in her analysis of the situation.

DeSantis vs. Haley

During a campaign stop in Iowa on Saturday, DeSantis said the U.S. should not be rolling out the welcome mat at this time. “I don’t know what [President Joe] Biden’s gonna do, but we cannot accept people from Gaza into this country as refugees. I am not going to do that,” he explained. “If you look at how they behave, not all of them are Hamas, but they are all antisemitic. None of them believe in Israel’s right to exist.” 

He went on to say that Gazans should seek refuge in the region. “The Arab states should be taking them if you have refugees,” he said in Iowa. “You don’t fly people and import them into the United States of America.”

During an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday, Haley responded to DeSantis and said that “half of Palestinians” don’t want to be governed by Hamas. “There are so many of these people who want to be free from this terrorist rule,” she explained. “They want to be free from all of that. And America has always been sympathetic to the fact that you can separate civilians from terrorists.”

Haley’s comments on CNN were largely taken to mean she supported the U.S. accepting refugees from Gaza, and her campaign has since sought to clarify her position. “We reached out to the Haley campaign today… and she gave us the following statement: ‘Nikki Haley opposes taking in Gazans. She thinks Hamas supporting countries like Iran, Qatar, and Turkey should take any refugees,'” Megyn shared. “We went back and asked if that applies to Palestinians in general – not just those who live in Gaza – and she said yes.”

DeSantis Explains His Position

In DeSantis’ view, there is a “really toxic culture” in Gaza that is anti-Israel. “People in the streets in Gaza were cheering the attacks,” he said. “They have created a culture there where they teach the kids to hate Jews. The textbooks don’t have Israel even on the map. These are things that are celebrated.”

He does not want to see the U.S. “importing those pathologies” from the Middle East. “It’s not a question of whether everyone is a member of Hamas or a terrorist or not,” he said. “The question is: Do you want to be importing those pathologies from the Middle East into our country?”

DeSantis served in the Navy, and he said his deployment to Iraq taught him a lot about the culture of the Middle East. “The Iraq campaign started for WMDs, but… the mission kind of changed to ‘democracy in the Middle East,’” he said. “What you found out when you were on the ground there… is their conception of freedom was a lot different than our conception of freedom… they believe freedom meant a government that subscribes to Sharia Law or Islamic rule… and it’s not our role to be trying to import that into the United States.”

That is why he disagrees with Haley’s view. “I’m glad she’s flipped, but why would you even have the discussion about vetting people and saying you can separate one from the other unless you were saying we would import them,” he asked. “Why would we be vetting people if they’re just going to go take up shop in Egypt? We’d have no role in that.”

Ultimately, DeSantis said the U.S. must learn its lesson from its prior entanglements in the Middle East. “I do think [Haley is] still suffering under the illusions which should have been wiped away after dealing with Iraq and Afghanistan,” he concluded. “The average person in Gaza that’s been taught to hate Jews… [doesn’t] necessarily want their own state. What they seek is the destruction of the Jewish state and… that is a widespread, deeply embedded belief amongst Palestinian Arabs in the Gaza Strip.”

You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Gov. DeSantis by tuning in to episode 649 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.