GOP Rep. Ron DeSantis suggested President Donald Trump would have faced heavy criticism no matter what he said, in response to Saturday’s violence in Charlottesville that left 19 injured and one dead.
“Some of these things you say are fair points, no doubt about it. But had he [Trump] said everything people say he should have said, would his critics have simply praised him for that or would they have found something else?” DeSantis asked during a Monday interview on CNN’s “New Day.”
DeSantis stressed that any type of racial or ethnic nationalism was a perversion of America’s founding, and needed to be rejected.
“The Founding Fathers didn’t found America because of European nationalism,” he said. “They founded the country based on principle, not based on any type of ethnic origin. That’s not healthy for our politics and so I think it would be good for the president to tell people that’s how he feels. And here’s the thing I think that that’s how he feels, knowing him.”
DeSantis said that comparing Trump to a Nazi is absurd, given his strong track record on Israel.
“President Trump ran as a pro-Israel candidate, I think he’s been the most pro-Israel president in my lifetime so he’s got some policy chops that he could put out there, and I think he should do that,” he said.
The congressman also defended Trump supporters and called out those trying to tie Trump voters to the senseless act of violence.
“I don’t think it’s accurate at all to say that the people who supported Donald Trump are reflective of that type of bigotry,” DeSantis said. “These are good folks and I think it’s wrong to try to malign them as some have suggested, and try to tar them with people like David Duke who really have no credibility with the broader American public.”
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