DeSantis backs Elon Musk in dodgy response to antisemitic post

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has refused to condemn an antisemitic tweet by X owner Elon Musk.

Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, the presidential hopeful refused to denounce Mr Musk’s promotion of a conspiratorial tweet, which accused Jewish communities of “pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites.”

“You have said the actual truth,” Mr Musk replied.

CNN host Jake Tapper asked Mr DeSantis, who launched his presidential campaign on X, about his reaction to Mr Musk’s tweet — including whether he condemned it.

“I did not see the comment,” Mr DeSantis said before abruptly switching gears. “Elon has had a target on his back ever since he purchased 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 purchasing Twitter. I think that they’re obviously still working some stuff out, but I did not see those comments.”

Tapper showed Mr DeSantis the X exchange before asking: “You’ve been very upfront when you see antisemitism on the left. Is antisemitism on the right something that concerns you as well?”

“Across the board,” the Florida Republican said. He then tried to distinguish the difference in antisemitic attacks coming from both sides. He alleged that such hate has arisen from prominent universities on the left compared to “fringe voices” on the right.

Tapper interjected that Mr Musk is far from “fringe,” being the wealthiest person in the world. “I would ask that major Republican figures, like you, use your voices as well to stand against it,” the anchor added.

Mr DeSantis dismissed Mr Musk’s post as simply “blogging.”

“I’m just saying, Elon Musk is a pretty powerful guy, and he’s out there endorsing some pretty hideous antisemitic conspiracy theories,” Tapper said. “And I still haven’t heard you condemn it.”

“Well because I haven’t seen it,” the 2024 hopeful replied. “I have no idea what the context is. I know Elon Musk. I have never seen him do anything. I think he’s a guy that believes in America. I have never seen him indulge in any of that. So it’s surprising, if that’s true, but I have not seen it. So I don’t want to sit there and pass judgment on the fly.”

The Florida governor’s refusal to condemn the offensive tweet arrives amid a rise in antisemitism across the country following the 7 October attacks in the Middle East, leading to the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war.