On the Republican debate stage Wednesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) faulted President Joe Biden for acting against “so-called Islamophobia” ― seemingly trying to express doubt about even the existence of anti-Muslim sentiment as the death toll in Gaza reportedly tops 10,000.
“What is Biden doing? Not only is he not helping the Jewish students, who are being persecuted, he is launching an initiative to combat so-called Islamophobia,” DeSantis said.
“No, it’s the antisemitism that’s spiraling out of control. That is what we have to confront, and as president, I can tell you this, we are not going to stand for this on college campuses any longer.”
A month following Hamas’ military incursion into Israel, and Israel’s overwhelming response, the rise in anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States ― and violent alleged hate crimes ― is undeniable, as is a spike in antisemitic incidents.
The Biden administration has spoken out against both antisemitism and Islamophobia, often in the same breath.
DeSantis on Wednesday appeared to be referring to the Biden administration’s recent announcement of a “National Strategy to Counter Islamophobia in the United States.” The announcement cited the killing of 6-year-old Wadea Al-Fayoume, who authorities say was stabbed to death by his landlord in an anti-Muslim hate crime.