Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida is questioning whether former President Donald Trump has the right temperament to lead the U.S. again following his response to the Hamas terror attack in Israel.
As the chaos continued to play out in Israel, Mr. Trump told supporters Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was ill-prepared for the deadly Hamas attack.
Mr. Trump also said Mr. Netanyahu “let us down” by not helping when the Trump administration killed Qasem Soleimani, an Iranian major general, in a January 2020 drone strike in Iraq.
Mr. DeSantis said the problem is Mr. Trump is still mad at Mr. Netanyahu for congratulating Mr. Biden for winning the White House days after the 2020 election.
“Why bring [Soleimani] up when their nation is now at war, and facing the worst attack that they’ve ever faced?” Mr. DeSantis said at the Institute for Politics at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire. “That is not how you treat an ally.”
The Washington Times reached out to the Trump campaign but did not hear back.
Mr. Trump and Mr. Netanyahu were allies. Things, though, soured after the Israeli leader saluted the Biden victory even as Mr. Trump contested the outcome.
“I haven’t spoken to him since,” Mr. Trump said, according to an Axios report in 2021. “F**k him.”
Mr. DeSantis said that Mr. Trump holding the grudge and bringing it up now is alarming. Elected leaders should not be making decisions because they feel “personally slighted,” he said.
“No, the decisions are not about things people have done to you,” Mr. DeSantis said. “It’s decisions about how it’s going to impact the people that you represent.”
Mr. Trump has faced blowback over his criticism of Mr. Netanyahu and for saying the Iran-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, a sworn enemy of Israel, is “very smart.”
Drawing a contrast to Mr. Trump’s comments, Mr. DeSantis said he does not take politics personally or let personal feelings influence his actions.
“You got to be bigger than a lot of this, you got to look higher. A leader can’t get dragged into the muck, and all the stuff that happens in our society, you got to know there’s true north out there,” he said. “All this other stuff, the drama, all the stuff — the circus atmosphere that politics is developed into — none of that is helpful for actually accomplishing what you need to do.”
Mr. DeSantis is trying to regain some of the momentum he has lost in the 2024 GOP presidential race. He has put a major focus on delivering a strong showing in Iowa, hoping it would give him a jolt of momentum heading into the first-in-the-nation primary in New Hampshire.
Polls in New Hampshire polls show he has slipped into third place behind former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley.
Mr. Trump holds a 30-point lead over his closest rivals in both states.