Florida State Reps. Randy Fine (left) and Mike Caruso look down as Gov. Ron DeSantis signs a “public nuisances” bill, HB 269, in Jerusalem on April 27, 2023. Credit: Orthodox Union.
(JNS) — Randy Fine, a Florida state representative, served as Jewish outreach chair for the state’s governor, Ron DeSantis.
“I am the only Republican Jew elected to the Florida legislature, and you will find few people in the legislature who have championed Mr. DeSantis more,” Fine wrote in a Washington Times op-ed. “Every piece of legislation you hear him talk about regarding Jewish issues is one I wrote.”
While he loves the governor’s words, “his actions have broken my heart,” wrote Fine, who announced that he is now supporting former President Donald Trump in the 2024 presidential election, rather than DeSantis.
“Before Governor DeSantis got elected, I helped fund a state Holocaust memorial. It’s five years later; they haven’t broken ground,” Fine wrote. “Governor DeSantis has taken longer to commemorate the deaths of six million Jews than it took the Allies to stop the deaths of six million more.”
Fine also wrote that DeSantis hasn’t sufficiently condemned antisemitism and that when Fine ran for office, DeSantis neither endorsed him nor condemned his opponent’s antisemitism.
“There is no choice — we must return Donald Trump to the Oval Office. For Israel. For Jews. For America. And for the world,” he wrote.
The op-ed “is timed to inflict maximum damage on DeSantis because it lands as the Republican Jewish Coalition meets this week in Las Vegas to host the Republican presidential candidates,” reported the Messenger.
At a press gaggle in New Hampshire on Oct. 24, DeSantis said the piece was “pure politics.”
“Totally ridiculous. What other governor has rescued people from Israel? I mean, like, I marshaled resources. We brought back close to 700 people. We’re bringing back children,” DeSantis said. He added that he has gone after the boycott Israeli (BDS) movement, signed legislation combating antisemitism on college campuses and funded security at Jewish day schools.
Bryan Griffin, press secretary on the campaign, said “This is nothing more than shameful political theater at a time when Ron DeSantis is leading the charge to support Israel.”
“There’s never been a more staunch, pro-Israel governor than Ron DeSantis, and his record proves it,” wrote Paul Renner, speaker of the Florida House of Representatives. “The rhetoric suggesting otherwise is wrong. Just ask any of the hundreds of Americans who made it home on flights organized by the governor when President [Joe] Biden failed to bring them home to safety.”
“He also implemented many laws to ensure education on the Holocaust in Florida schools, combatted offensive antisemitic behavior throughout the state, and secured funding for security to protect Jewish schools and synagogues,” Renner added. “There is no stronger candidate for president on these critical issues than Ron DeSantis.”