Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Sunday refused to condemn a post that Elon Musk made on X endorsing an antisemitic tweet that alluded to a white supremacist conspiracy theory.
During an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” anchor Jake Tapper asked DeSantis whether he would condemn Musk’s post that he said “openly endorsed an antisemitic conspiracy theory that Jews are conspiring to replace white Americans with minority immigrants,” noting that major companies such as Apple and Disney pulled their ads from X in response to Musk’s endorsement.
“I did not see the comment,” DeSantis said. “I know that Elon has had a target on his back ever since he purchased Twitter because I think he’s taking it in the direction that a lot of people who are used to controlling the narrative don’t like.”
“I was a big supporter of him purchasing Twitter,” he added. “I think they’re obviously still working some stuff out, but I did not see those comments.”
Tapper then read the post aloud, in which a user said he was “deeply disinterested in giving the tiniest s— now about western Jewish populations,” realizing that “minorities that support flooding their country don’t exactly like them too much.”
The user claimed that Jewish people “have been pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them.”
Musk replied to the post, “You have said the actual truth.” He went on to target the Anti-Defamation League, an organization that fights antisemitism: “The ADL unjustly attacks the majority of the West, despite the majority of the West supporting the Jewish people and Israel. This is because they cannot, by their own tenets, criticize the minority groups who are their primary threat.”
The Tesla CEO’s comments drew comparisons to the “Great Replacement Theory,” a racist conspiracy theory that Jewish people are conspiring to replace white people with minority groups.
“It’s a lot of condemnation for singling out a specific religious group during this time of rapidly rising antisemitism,” Tapper said, adding that “you have been very out front when you see antisemitism on the left. Is antisemitism on the right something that concerns you as well?”
“Across the board,” DeSantis said. “And, actually, I think, in the advent of these attacks, the amount of antisemitism that we have seen has really surprised me.”
DeSantis said he signed legislation in Florida that he characterized as an effort to combat antisemitism on college campuses — which has come under fire for its ban on pro-Palestinian student groups —before insisting that antisemitism is seen on “both sides.”
“The difference is that, on the left, that tends to be attached to some major institutional power, like some of our most august universities,” he said. “Whereas I think, on the right, it tends to be more fringe voices that are doing it.”
“But it’s wrong no matter what,” he added. “And I don’t think that we have seen antisemitism this bad in the world probably since the Second World War.”
Tapper later mentioned in the interview that he still hadn’t heard DeSantis condemn Musk’s post.
DeSantis again insisted that he hadn’t seen it.
“I know you tried to read it, I have no idea what the context is,” he said. “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.”
Meanwhile, DeSantis’ fellow Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy on Saturday defended the tech mogul. Ramaswamy, a biotech entrepreneur who is friends with Musk, angrily derided the Space X CEO’s critics.
“Now they use the label of antisemitic if you say something that challenges the orthodoxy,” Ramaswamy said while drawing a comparison between the backlash against antisemitism and the social justice movement that swept the nation in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
“I think what they’re doing to him is ridiculous. I think it’s crazy to call him antisemitic,” he added.
When NBC News tried to ask him if he agreed with Musk’s antisemitic post, Ramaswamy interjected: “I think the reality is the woke infection from several years ago, which many left-leaning groups like the ADL, have supported, actually planted the seeds for the antisemitism we’re seeing today.”
The White House has condemned Musk’s post, saying it’s an “abhorrent promotion of antisemitic and racist hate” that “runs against our core values as Americans.”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., on Sunday also decried Musk’s post during an interview on “Meet the Press.”
“My reaction to Elon Musk’s post was absolute abhorrence,” he said. “His saying that this blatantly antisemitic comment was, quote, ‘The actual truth,’ is sickening and chilling.”
“And Elon Musk has turned X, formerly known as Twitter, into a cesspool of hate speech and extremist incitement. And I encourage, in fact, I urge advertisers like IBM, which has done so, to withdraw from X and to send a message to Elon Musk that hate has no place on this powerful megaphone,” he added. “And as you know, the surge of antisemitic, anti-Muslim, white supremacist, anti-Black sentiment on social media has been an incubator, in fact, an accelerant to more than just speech — action that constitutes hate crimes.”
Asked to respond to the ongoing backlash over Musk’s post, including Blumenthal’s remarks, Twitter’s press email automatically replied: “Busy now, please check back later.”
Jews have experienced a significant increase in antisemitic incidents since Hamas launched its brutal attack on Israel on Oct. 7. There has been a 316% increase in antisemitic incidents in the U.S. compared to the same period in 2022, according to the Anti-Defamation League.