When CNN’s Jake Tapper gave Ron DeSantis multiple opportunities to condemn Elon Musk’s antisemitic post on X (formerly Twitter), DeSantis repeatedly ducked the question and defended Musk’s character.
“I did not see the comment. I know Elon has had a target on his back ever since he purchased Twitter because he’s taking it in a direction that a lot of people who are used to controlling the narrative don’t like,” DeSantis said. “So I was a big supporter of him purchasing Twitter. I think that they’re obviously still working some stuff out, but I did not see those comments.”
He later added, “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.”
TAPPER: Elon Musk is a pretty powerful guy and he's out there endorsing some pretty hideous antisemitic conspiracy theories and I still haven't heard you condemn it.
DESANTIS: Well, because I haven't see it. I have no idea what the context is. pic.twitter.com/Nnh9EXKBQr
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 19, 2023
The post was made four days ago, so at this point, DeSantis’ professed failure to read it seems like an intentional choice, or he’s lying and has seen it. Musk amplified a post on X that accused the Jewish community of promoting “dialectical hatred against whites” and pushed an antisemitic conspiracy theory that purports Jews are trying to replace white Americans with immigrants of color. This conspiracy theory, known as great replacement theory or white replacement theory, has been cited as motivation by killers in several mass shootings, including: the 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue in Pittsburgh; the 2019 New Zealand mosque shooting; the 2019 El Paso Walmart shooting; and the 2022 Buffalo, N.Y., supermarket shooting.
Tapper didn’t let DeSantis skirt the issue so easily and showed DeSantis the original post and Musk’s response. “So here’s a post claiming that Jews are pushing dialectical hatred against whites and are flooding the country with hordes of minorities,” Tapper said. “And Elon Musk replies: ‘You have said the actual truth.’ He goes on to say that he’s talking about the ADL and other Jewish groups are pushing replacements of whites.”
“I know … you have been very out front when you see antisemitism on the left. Is antisemitism on the right something that concerns you as well?” the host asked DeSantis.
“Across the board,” DeSantis said. “I think, in the advent of these attacks, the amount of antisemitism that we have seen has really surprised me. And I’m somebody that signed major legislation in Florida to combat antisemitism on college campuses. And yet… you have seen it on both sides.”
DeSantis went on to say that antisemitism on the left “tends to be attached to some major institutional power, like some of our most august universities” while claiming that antisemitism on the right is from “fringe voices.”
“I don’t know how fringe the voices are, to be completely frank. I mean, Elon Musk is the wealthiest man in the world,” Tapper responded. “And we have seen some major conservative media figures, Charlie Kirk, Candace Owens, and others, pushing really, really hateful stuff, backing these nonsensical theories of white genocide, White Replacement Theory. And I would ask that major Republican figures like you use your voices as well to stand against it.”
Tapper also noted that DeSantis launched his presidential campaign on X. Huge companies, including IBM, Apple, and Disney, are now removing their ads from the platform because of Musk’s antisemitism.
“I’m just saying, Elon Musk is a pretty powerful guy, and he’s out there endorsing some pretty hideous antisemitic conspiracy theories,” the host added. “And I still haven’t heard you condemn it.”
“Well, because I haven’t seen it. I know you tried to read it. I have no idea what the context is,” DeSantis said, even though Tapper made the context pretty clear.
Later in the show, Tapper spoke with Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin, who called out DeSantis for not condemning Musk’s comment.
Raskin calls out DeSantis for claiming he didn't see Elon Musk's antisemitic post four days after he published it: "You showed it to him, and he still refused to condemn it." pic.twitter.com/g6Tse1t3IB
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 19, 2023
“Well, the guy’s running for president, and Elon Musk did that on Wednesday. It’s Sunday, so this is four days later. And he has not had the chance to read what Elon Musk wrote? That is very hard for me to believe… You showed it to him, and he still refused to condemn it,” Raskin said, calling Musk’s comment “outrageous and dangerous.”
The congressman added that he will be working with colleagues to write a letter to Musk asking him “to renounce those comments and to clean up his act.”
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