While Florida’s U.S. Senate Democratic primary candidates, Rep. Alan Grayson and Rep. Patrick Murphy, seem to be garnering all of the media spotlight in what will eventually turn out to be a hotly contested general election, Republicans vying to replace outgoing Sen. Marco Rubio appear to be a forgotten bunch.
With the terrorist attacks in Paris, France, taking the media center stage, politicians, including Florida’s Senate Republican candidates have used this opportunity to espouse their hawkish foreign policy bona fides in response to the cowardly attacks.
President Obama has begun to allow Syrian refugees to enter the U.S. and has recently stated that—regardless of the attacks in France, where French and Greek officials have now confirmed that one of the terrorist attackers was indeed a Syrian refugee—he would continue to bring more refugees into the country.
According to a New York Times map, since 2012, six Florida cities have been the recipients of a portion of the 150,000 Syrian refugees who have already been brought into the U.S.
Expect this number to climb and the number of Florida cities receiving these refugees to grow.
During this past weekend’s Florida Republican Party’s “Sunshine Summit” in Orlando, Florida, Rep. Ron DeSantis, who is a reservist in the U.S. Navy and was a judge advocate general at Guantanamo Bay, stated that the Paris attacks should be a wake-up call for the U.S. to “recommit” efforts to protect the country’s “sovereignty” and “borders.” He said of the terrorists, “The enemy is an ideology rooted in militant Islam.”
His opponent, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, took a less-hawkish stance on the attacks, saying that the deadly actions carried out in Paris was a “reminder that there are evil people,” but that it was “probably in poor taste” to “be laying blame” on anyone.
Shortly after the summit concluded, we reached out to all of the announced Senate candidates to see if they would expound more on what they have already stated about the attacks.
Adding to his “probably in poor taste” comment about the attacks, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera sent out the following statement:
Our government should be a full partner with the French police and intelligence services, providing any aid and resources we can in the course of tracing back the terror networks responsible for this cowardly and evil attack.
Lopez-Cantera added that “there is no question that ISIS, al-Qaeda, and their affiliates have every intention of bringing their war against Western Civilization to our shores. We must call the ideology and authors of this terror by their true name; they are Islamic terrorists, devoted to a violent destruction of the United States and the West.” He continuted:
The president should direct our military and intelligence community officials to determine the right strategic mix of U.S. war fighting and intelligence assets to achieve one simple goal: “America should lead other nations in the prompt and complete destruction of ISIS, its infrastructure, and its ability to ever reconstitute itself.”
Former CIA and U.S. Army Special Forces officer, businessman Todd Wilcox, stated, “Who better to help formulate and to lead debate on fighting ISIS and Islamic extremists than an Arabic-speaking, former CIA case officer who has been fighting the war on terrorism?” Wilcox also added:
I am heartsick for the victims, families, and friends of those impacted by the horrific and savage attacks in Paris. President Hollande said he would be “merciless” with the ISIS terrorists, and I pray that he has the fortitude to do what our president has not been willing to do. For the sake of our nation’s security, we must stand united with France and our committed Allies to remain vigilant against those who wish to harm us.
Rep. David Jolly remarked that the U.S. needed a foreign policy that says… to ISIS, ‘We will fight you, we will defeat you. We will destroy you.'” His campaign also stated:
It is with a heavy heart that we stand with the people of France and share our deepest condolences to the victims and their loved ones over these barbaric attacks. We as a free world must unite against terrorists to secure the cause of freedom, and to ensure these acts of cowardice are never seen again and never reach our homeland.
The 2016 election cycle will by heavily weighted on foreign policy and national security. Considering that Republicans have pretty much owned this issue over the more passive Democratic Party, Florida’s Republican Senate primary candidates now have the opportunity to make the case for why they, and the rest of the GOP, are best suited to take on the pressing foreign aggression that the U.S., its allies, and the rest of the free world face.