MIAMI – NBC News attempted to fact check Gov. Ron DeSantis during the third Republican presidential primary debate by arguing his claim that he rescued over 700 Americans from Israel is only partially true.
“This is half true,” NBC said in response to DeSantis’ statement that he “brought back over 700 people to safety.”
“DeSantis signed an executive order that allows the Florida Division of Emergency Management to pay for Americans in Israel to fly back to the US,” NBC said. “But the flights were organized by a nonprofit, and DeSantis’ primary role was to fund the flights.”
The DeSantis campaign jokingly attacked NBC, stating the outlet would only validate DeSantis’ claim if he personally piloted the plane to and from Israel.
“NBC fact checkers be like… ‘DeSantis didn’t ACTUALLY pilot the airplanes over to Israel himself! Checkmate,’” said Christina Pushaw, the DeSantis campaign’s rapid response director.
DeSantis signed the executive order just days after Hamas’ horrific Oct. 7 terrorist attacks on Israel.
“We will not leave our residents behind,” DeSantis said during the signing. “To the many Floridians who are stuck in Israel, trying to get home — help is on the way.”
Within weeks, nearly 700 Americans were rescued during the successful operation directed by Florida.
“Thanks to the decisive action of Governor DeSantis, the Division was able to quickly coordinate with our Israeli partners and compile needed supplies,” said Kevin Guthrie, Division of Emergency Management executive director.
“After working with the Israeli Consulate, medical partners and hospitals in Israel, the Division identified what items were most in need to reduce inundation and increase efficiency.”
The action came right before the Republican Party of Florida’s only Jewish lawmaker, Rep. Randy Fine, R-Melbourne Beach, reversed his support for DeSantis and instead endorsed former President Donald Trump in the 2024 election.