Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is risking voter backlash in his state after his decision to fly dozens of mostly Venezuelan migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, The Hill reported.
The news outlet noted the mounting criticism of the Republican governor’s decision from members of key Hispanic communities in the state, as well as from Democrats.
“With this move, this stunt, obviously he made his base very happy,” said Adelys Ferro, executive director of the Venezuelan American Caucus. “But there are many people more toward the middle and people who are independents that are very disgusted and that reject all of this.”
“We are Venezuelan Americans and we vote, and we’re going to vote in November,” she added. “And we’re never going to vote for somebody who does this.”
A Republican strategist, who has done campaign work in Florida, told The Hill: “I think we need to be cautious about taking Hispanics for granted in the same way that Democrats took them for granted.
“We’re talking about voters who like Republican policies, but maybe don’t consider themselves Republicans. They’re still open to hearing the other side.”
DeSantis’ decision to fly the migrants to Massachusetts also has the potential to further strengthen his support among conservatives, The Hill said. DeSantis is facing former Rep. Charlie Crist, a Democrat, in November.
“This is a story that has put him [DeSantis] at the forefront of the national conversation for the last couple of weeks,” said Fernand Amandi, a Miami-based Democrat pollster. “So from his perspective, as long as he doesn’t get charged, I think he sees it as a good thing.”
Former White House adviser Jared Kushner recently characterized DeSantis’ role in sending the approximately 50 migrants to Martha’s Vineyard as “very troubling.”
Kushner, who served in the Trump White House and is the son-in-law to former President Donald Trump, said DeSantis’ move might have called attention to the immigration problems at the United States-Mexico border, but it still missed the mark with him.
“I personally watch what’s happening, and it’s very hard to see at the southern border. … We have to remember that these are human beings, they’re people, so seeing them being used as political pawns one way or the other is very troubling to me,” said Kushner on Tuesday, while appearing on Fox News.
Meanwhile, The Hill noted that a Texas sheriff said his office would probe whether the flight to Martha’s Vineyard was legal. In addition a state lawmaker in Florida is preparing to file sit in an effort to block the governor from flying out more migrants.