Excerpts from a recent CNN interview with Nikki Haley are being shared on social media with the claim that the Republican presidential candidate endorses a “plan to house up to one million Palestinians from Gaza.”
Fla. Gov. Ron DeSantis said that Haley “shows an instinct on her behalf” to “cater to elite opinion,” per his presidential campaign, which cited Haley’s supposed “openness to admitting Gaza refugees to the United States.
“I do think she’s still suffering under the illusions—which should have been wiped away after dealing with Iraq and Afghanistan—that somehow people in that part of the world just yearn to live in American-style democracy and freedom,” DeSantis said. “That is not what they’re after.”
Never Back Down, a DeSantis-aligned super PAC, added, “Nikki Haley argues in support of bringing Gaza refugees to America: ‘There are so many of these people who want to be free from this terrorist rule. They want to be free from all of that. And America’s always been sympathetic to the fact that you can separate civilians from terrorists. And that’s what we have to do.’”
Haley’s campaign told JNS that the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and South Carolina governor is being misrepresented.
“Nikki Haley opposes the United States taking in Gazans. She thinks Hamas-supporting countries like Iran, Qatar and Turkey should take any refugees,” Olivia Perez-Cubas, a spokeswoman for the Haley campaign, told JNS.
According to a transcript of the interview with CNN that the campaign provided, Jake Tapper asked Haley, “Do you think the U.S., Israel, Egypt needs to be doing more to help these innocent Palestinian civilians get out of harm’s way? Although you just heard [U.S. National Security Advisor] Jake Sullivan say one of the problems is Hamas is keeping the civilians in Gaza. They don’t want them to leave.”
According to the Haley campaign, the candidate’s answer to Tapper’s question about Palestinian civilians is being conflated with her response about refugees.
“We should care about the Palestinian citizens, especially the innocent ones because they didn’t ask for this. But where are the Arab countries? Where are they? Where is Qatar? Where is Lebanon? Where is Jordan? Where is Egypt? Do you know we give Egypt over $1 billion a year? Why aren’t they opening the gates? Why aren’t they taking the Palestinians?” Haley said on CNN.
“Because they know they can’t vet them, and they don’t want Hamas in their neighborhood. So why would Israel want them in their neighborhood?” she asked.
In an interview with Fox News, Haley said, “I’ve always said we shouldn’t take any Gazan refugees into the U.S.” She added, “They should stay in the region. There is no reason for any refugees to come to America, and my record’s very clear on that.”
DeSantis told Fox News, “No Gaza refugees, period. We’re just not gonna do it. And why? Because we don’t want to import the pathologies from the Gaza Strip and other places in the Middle East into the United States of America.
“They are taught to hate Jews,” DeSantis continued. “There’s no reason to be importing that into the United States.”
The DeSantis campaign did not respond to JNS by press time.
Guy Benson, also of Fox News, removed a tweet with the claim that Haley wanted to resettle Gazans stateside. “My radio show account has deleted a tweet stating that Nikki Haley ‘proposed’ settling Gazan refugees in the US, which was not a fair characterization,” he wrote.
A “Republican operative” told National Review, “It’s really outrageous that DeSantis and his online minions are straight-up lying about Nikki.”
“This tit-for-tat demonstrates where the GOP presidential primary stands,” National Review added. “At the moment, DeSantis and Haley are the two highest-polling alternatives to former president Donald Trump.”