(USNewsMag.com) – Political newcomer Vivek Ramaswamy is pushing back on Florida governor and fellow GOP presidential candidate Ron DeSantis’s decision to shut down activist groups supporting Palestinians in the Sunshine State.
Ramaswamy slammed the Florida governor for cracking down on pro-Palestinian student activist groups, calling the decision “utter hypocrisy.” The biotech entrepreneur told Fox News that the point of free speech isn’t to “just protect the ideas we love,” but also “the ideas we hate.” Although he described the pro-Palestinian student activists as “idiotic” and “dead wrong” in their message, he added that what makes Americans “different from Islamic terrorists” is that we don’t allow the silencing of “dissent.”
Ramaswamy’s comments came in light of the news that the DeSantis administration is being sued by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which argues that public universities are trying to “stifle” the free speech of students by deactivating chapters for the activist group Students for Justice in Palestine.
Ever since the October 7 attack by Hamas on Israel, pro-Palestinian activists around the US and internationally have been protesting on university campuses and calling for a cease-fire from Israel as the Jewish state continues to lay siege to the Gaza Strip. Critics of the groups, such as DeSantis, have taken issue with the activists’ justifications or open support for the October 7 attack.
Chancellor of the Florida University System Ray Rodriguez consulted with DeSantis last month and then sent a memo on October 24 to all university presidents. The memo noted that following the terrorist attacks on Israel by Hamas, one pro-Palestinian student group put out a “toolkit” for activists, referring to the attack as “the resistance.” The group made a call to arms to “students in exile,” whom they called “part” of the movement.
A spokesperson for DeSantis stood by the governor’s decision and, in opposition to the lawsuit, stated that disbanding groups providing “material support” to terrorists was the right move. Ramaswamy maintains that the Florida governor’s move is “unconstitutional” and hypocritical “for someone who rallied” against so-called “cancel culture.”
DeSantis remains in second place in the GOP primary polls, while Ramaswamy is battling it out to hold onto third place. Meanwhile, former President Donald Trump remains leagues ahead of both candidates.
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