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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis defended his call to ban pro-Palestinian groups from Florida state colleges Sunday, after one of his Republican presidential primary opponents, Vivek Ramaswamy, slammed the demand as “a shameful political ploy.”
“It’s unconstitutional. It’s utter hypocrisy for someone who railed against left-wing cancel culture,” Ramaswamy posted on X (formerly Twitter) Thursday, alleging that it violates students’ right to free speech.
DeSantis held firm Sunday.
“This is not cancel culture. This group, they themselves said, in the aftermath of the Hamas attack, that they don't just stand in solidarity that they are part of this Hamas movement,” DeSantis said during an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“You have a right to go out and demonstrate, but you can't provide material support to terrorism. They've linked themselves to Hamas. And so we absolutely decertified them. They should not get one red cent of taxpayer dollars,” he added, referencing a state law that prevents people from giving aid or assistance to terrorist organizations.
DeSantis last week had Ray Rodrigues, chancellor of Florida's university system, order state universities to shut down campus chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine.
When pressed by NBC’s Kristin Welker about whether or not he had seen evidence that pro-Palestinian groups were providing such support, DeSantis cited protesters' “words.”
“Their own words are saying they're part of this organization, that they don't just stand in solidarity, that they don't just support what they did, but that this is their movement, too,” he said.