A Shift in Focus: Foreign Policy Takes Center Stage for Republican Presidential Candidates
A recent gathering of Jewish donors and activists showcased the growing prominence of foreign policy in the Republican primary campaign. The speeches by several Republican presidential candidates revealed fresh divides within the contest and shed light on the escalating conflict in the Middle East.
Opportunities Arise Amidst Conflict
The event, hosted by the Republican Jewish Coalition at the Venetian in Las Vegas, coincided with Israel’s expansion of ground operations in Gaza. Against this backdrop, the primary candidates aimed to distinguish themselves amidst former President Donald J. Trump’s lead in the polls. They viewed his response to the Ukraine and Israel attacks as a chance to highlight their foreign policy credentials.
Trump Focused on Biden’s Weakness
During his speech, former President Trump directed his attention towards attacking President Biden’s perceived weakness. He asserted that the world would be safer if he were still in the White House. Trump emphasized his commitment to fighting threats abroad and at home, drawing attention to the importance of strong leadership in safeguarding the country’s interests.
Nikki Haley Criticizes Trump’s Approach
Nikki Haley, former ambassador to the United Nations, took a different approach. She criticized Trump’s handling of foreign affairs, calling him “confused” on the threats facing the United States and Israel. Haley positioned herself as a leader who would restore stability and unity, highlighting the need for a candidate who can effectively navigate complex international challenges.
DeSantis Denounces Equating Hamas and Israeli Deaths
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis used his speech to denounce the “false moral equivalency” between Hamas and Israeli deaths. He stressed the importance of unwavering support for Israel and the need to combat terrorism. DeSantis positioned himself as a staunch defender of Israel’s security.
Republican Jewish Coalition: A Galvanizing Moment
The annual meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition, held at the Venetian, was a significant event in the fall Republican primary season. Against the backdrop of Hamas’s recent attack on Israel, the coalition’s involvement in the third Republican debate underscored the unifying power of Israel among various factions of the Republican Party. The event became even more momentous with the unexpected appearance of House Speaker Mike Johnson, who reinforced the party’s unwavering support for Israel.
Showcasing Support for Israel
All eight candidates who spoke at the event expressed strong support for Israel. They pledged to back military operations and combat rising antisemitism, particularly on college campuses. Notably, Vivek Ramaswamy, an entrepreneur and author, qualified his support, signaling a more isolationist stance. However, he emphasized Israel’s right to self-defense and the importance of respecting its decision-making autonomy.
Political Opportunities and Divisions
Within the speeches, Republican politicians seized on the divisions the conflict has exposed. Progressive Democratic lawmakers, such as Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, became targets of criticism. The tensions on college campuses were also addressed, with speakers highlighting the silence of progressive voices on the safety and well-being of Jewish Americans.
Overall, the gathering of Jewish donors and activists provided a platform for Republican candidates to solidify their foreign policy positions and differentiate themselves from their opponents. The event underscored the significance of foreign policy in the primary campaign and its potential to sway voters in an increasingly complex global landscape.
Read More of this Story at www.nytimes.com – 2023-10-29 05:54:32
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