Florida Governor Ron DeSantis refused to condemn an anti-Semitic tweet by X owner Elon Musk.
Speaking on CNN's “State of the Union” Sunday, the presidential candidate declined to denounce Musk's promotion of a conspiratorial tweet that accused Jewish communities of “pushing the exact kind of anti-white hate speech.”
“You spoke the real truth,” Mr. Musk he answered.
CNN's Jake Tapper asked Mr. DeSantis, who launched his presidential campaign at X, about his reaction to Mr. Musk's tweet — including whether he condemned it.
“I didn't see the comment,” Mr. DeSantis said before abruptly shifting gears. “Elon has had a target on his back since he bought Twitter because I think he's taking it in a direction that a lot of people who are used to controlling the narrative don't like. So I was a big supporter of him buying Twitter. I think they're obviously still working things out, but I didn't see those comments.”
Tapper showed Mr DeSantis the X exchange before asking: “You were way ahead of the curve when you see anti-Semitism on the left. Is anti-Semitism something that concerns you too?”
“Across the board,” the Florida Republican said. He then tried to distinguish the anti-Semitic attacks coming from both sides. He argued that such hatred has emerged from prominent universities on the left compared to “fringe voices” on the right.
Tapper interjected that Musk is far from the “fringe” as he is the richest man in the world. “I would ask senior Republicans like you to use your voices to fight back,” the host added.
Mr DeSantis dismissed Mr Musk's post as mere “blogging”.
“I'm just saying that Elon Musk is a pretty powerful guy and he's out there advocating some pretty horrible anti-Semitic conspiracy theories,” Tapper said. “And I still haven't heard you condemn it.”
“Well, because I haven't seen it,” replied the 2024 hopeful. “I have no idea what the context is. I know Elon Musk. I've never seen him do anything. I think he's a guy who believes in America. I have never seen him indulge in any of these. So it's weird if that's true, but I haven't seen it. So I don't want to sit there and judge right away.”
The Florida governor's refusal to condemn the offensive tweet comes amid a rise in anti-Semitism across the country following the Oct. 7 attacks in the Middle East, which sparked the Israel-Hamas war.