Crist Campaign Takes Heat for Running Mate's Criticism of Jerusalem Embassy Move

Florida Democratic gubernatorial nominee Charlie Crist / Getty Images
September 20, 2022

Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist is under scrutiny for his running mate's criticism of the Trump administration's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital city.

Karla Hernández, whom Crist selected as his running mate in his bid to replace Republican governor Ron DeSantis, promoted a tweet criticizing the 2018 decision to relocate the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a move widely seen as a watershed moment for America's pro-Israel community.

"All these folks saying that moving the Embassy is biblical. I'm pretty familiar with the Bible. Can't say i recall any mention of the US, an embassy, or moving of said Embassy," a Democratic political operative tweeted in a message that Hernández amplified. "I'm gonna need a citation, with chapter & verse." The tweet included the hashtags "Gaza" and "the holy land."

The Crist campaign did not respond to Washington Free Beacon requests for comment, including questions about if it supports the sentiments expressed in the tweet. The Crist campaign's silence on the matter prompted criticism from DeSantis's campaign.

"Floridians deserve to know if Charlie agrees with these anti-Israel sentiments," Dave Abrams, a spokesman for DeSantis's campaign, told the Free Beacon. "Governor DeSantis is the most pro-Israel governor in America. He was honored to be in Jerusalem for the establishment of our embassy in 2018, and as a member of Congress, he helped lead the fight to make this longstanding promise a reality. By contrast, Charlie Crist's running mate implied that moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem as part of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's eternal capital is unjust and wrong."

While foreign policy matters may seem irrelevant in a gubernatorial contest, the Sunshine State's large Jewish population is known to favor pro-Israel candidates.

Crist, a former Florida governor and congressman, has a pro-Israel track record. He supported measures to amplify the U.S.-Israel defense alliance and is known as an ally to the state's Jewish community. Crist's campaign website does not list Israel on its issues page.

As a House member, DeSantis attended the Jerusalem embassy dedication ceremony and was known as one of the chamber's most pro-Israel members.