Randy Fine, the only Jewish Republican in the Florida state legislature, rebuked his former ally Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Monday and announced he was switching his endorsement to former President Trump.
Fine, a member of the state House, criticized the governor in an op-ed in The Washington Times, saying that he had been an early supporter of DeSantis’s but that the governor was not strongly countering antisemitism in the Sunshine State.
“Before Governor DeSantis got elected, I helped fund a state Holocaust memorial. It’s five years later; they haven’t broken ground. 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 wrote.
“Eighteen months ago, my Nazi ‘friends’ showed up in Florida. They assaulted a Rabbi. They beat up a Jew who yelled back at one of their protests,” he continued. “They commandeered highway overpasses to illegally hang banners saying ‘Gas the Jews.’ They have tormented Jews at their homes with filth. Until a few weeks ago, Governor DeSantis said almost nothing. And worse, he did almost nothing.”
Fine explained that he was switching his endorsement from DeSantis to Trump because he argued that Trump’s actions demonstrated his support for the Jewish community.
“Donald Trump didn’t just talk about moving the Embassy. He did it. Donald Trump didn’t just talk about Israeli security. He green-lit them annexing the Golan,” he said. “Donald Trump didn’t just talk about peace. He signed the Abraham Accords. He deserved a Nobel Peace Prize for it.”
DeSantis campaign press secretary Bryan Griffin slammed Fine’s op-ed in a statement, arguing that the Florida governor had taken steps to support the Jewish community.
“This is nothing more than shameful political theater at a time when Ron DeSantis is leading the charge to support Israel. From working to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, to combatting antisemitism throughout Florida and its schools, to securing funding for security at Jewish schools and synagogues, there’s never been a more pro-Israel Governor,” Griffin said in his statement.
“When Joe Biden stood idly by, Ron DeSantis sent planes to bring over 700 Americans home to safety and called the Florida legislature back for a special session to levy sanctions against Iran and provide further protections to Jewish students and faith communities in Florida,” he continued. “When it comes to standing in defense of Israel, he’s always been a leader who acts and delivers.”
While speaking in New Hampshire on Tuesday, DeSantis pointed to the state’s work in trying to rescue those stuck in Israel, saying, “What other governor has rescued people from Israel?” according to Politico. “I mean, like I marshaled resources. We brought back close to 700 people.”
He also alleged that Fine was “trying to ingratiate himself” and labeled the state lawmaker’s move “pure politics.”
The development comes as Trump is the clear favorite to win the GOP nomination. The race for a Trump alternate increasingly looks like a two-way contest between DeSantis and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley.
Several high-profile Republicans, including former 2024 GOP presidential contender Will Hurd, have come out more recently in support of Haley. The Florida governor is largely seen as No. 2 to Trump in Iowa, while Haley looks positioned as No.2 in New Hampshire and South Carolina.