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During the fourth Republican presidential primary debate on Wednesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, citing his time serving in the Middle East, referred to the clothing worn by Al Qaeda as “man dresses.”
DeSantis was answering a question at the debate, hosted by NewsNation, about his past remarks that he’d authorize shooting drug smugglers coming across the southern border.
“When I was in Iraq, the Al Qaeda wasn’t wearing a uniform. You'd see anyone walking down the street, they all had man dresses on. You didn’t know if they had a bomb, an IED, attached or not," DeSantis said.
It wasn’t the first time DeSantis has used the term "man dresses" in an apparent reference to a thobe. He has used the term on the stump, including in Iowa and South Carolina.
In Iowa in July, DeSantis talked about Marines' being deployed in Ramadi "not knowing the next person coming down the street wearing a man dress had a bomb attached to it or not."
DeSantis raised the ire of Muslim and Arab Americans in the past when, at the previous debate, he used the phrase “so-called Islamophobia.”
Last week, after three Palestinian American students in Vermont were shot, the DeSantis campaign said he stood by his past statements.
DeSantis has taken an aggressive — and controversial — stand against majority Muslim countries, having as a congressman in 2015 introduced the Terrorist Refugee Infiltration Prevention Act, which essentially would have acted as an early version of Donald Trump's so-called Muslim travel ban. It would have blocked entry of refugees from certain countries “if the alien is a national of, has habitually resided in, or is claiming refugee status due to events in any country containing terrorist-controlled territory.” The bill didn’t make it out of committee.
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com