Ron DeSantis says he doesn’t like Trump’s ‘blood’ language on immigration because it doesn’t help ‘move the ball forward’

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Ron DeSantis says he doesn’t like Trump’s ‘blood’ language on immigration because it doesn’t help ‘move the ball forward’

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis criticized former President Donald Trump‘s remarks on immigration that have been likened to the rhetoric of Adolf Hitler by saying his GOP rival’s words didn’t help “move the ball forward” on border issues.

DeSantis, a Republican presidential candidate, was asked in an interview this week with the Christian Broadcasting Network for his reaction to Trump’s recent comments that immigrants entering the U.S. are “poisoning the blood of our country.” He said the remarks weren’t helpful in terms of attacking President Joe Biden’s border policies.

“When you start talking about using those types of terms, I don’t think that that helps us move the ball forward. I would not put it in those terms,” DeSantis said in a clip from the interview, which is scheduled to air in full Thursday.

In an interview Wednesday, fellow GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley gave a similar response when asked about Trump’s comments.

The former U.N. ambassador told the Des Moines Register that the former president’s remark is “just not helpful. It’s not constructive. It’s not necessary.”

Several Senate Republicans, as well as GOP presidential candidate Chris Christie, have used much harsher language in chastising Trump over his remarks. Biden’s re-election campaign also rebuked Trump over the weekend, accusing him of echoing Hitler.

Trump has since doubled down on his comments, telling supporters in Iowa on Tuesday that people crossing the border illegally into the U.S. are “destroying the blood of our country.” He also dismissed the comparison to Hitler, saying that he “never read ‘Mein Kampf’” and that Hitler used the “blood poisoning” line “in a much different way.”

Reached for comment about DeSantis’ response, a spokesperson pointed to a Fox News interview in which he suggested that he was unclear about Trump’s intention with the remark.

DeSantis said Monday: “I don’t know what this means with the blood stuff. I know people are trying to draw historical allusions. I don’t know if that’s what he meant.”

Zoë Richards

Zoë Richards is the evening politics reporter for NBC News.

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