Why couldn’t President Biden do this?
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis chartered a flight to bring 270 American citizens back from Israel to Tampa on Sunday. This effort was a response to an executive order issued on October 12, 2024, by the 2024 GOP presidential candidate, aimed at aiding the return of an estimated 20,000 U.S. citizens in Israel.
According to Newsmax, in a social media post on Sunday night, Governor DeSantis expressed his satisfaction, stating, “We are here at Tampa airport, we are having our first flight of people being rescued from Israel. It has landed. Over 260 people that wanted to get back to the United States and couldn’t do it due to a lack of leadership, so we stepped up and led. We are happy to be able to deliver that. We are getting ready to welcome them back to the United States of America.”
The flight reportedly traveled through Portugal before arriving in Tampa at 7:45 p.m. on Sunday. Among the passengers were 91 children, and an additional seven evacuees were taken to Orlando, according to a report by Tampa television station News Channel 8.
Governor DeSantis’ executive order directed the Florida Division of Emergency Management to assist citizens having difficulty leaving Israel due to the recent conflict with Hamas. The order highlighted the more than 20,000 Americans, including Floridians, who wished to return home from Israel but were unable to do so. It authorized the State of Florida to carry out logistical, rescue, and evacuation operations to ensure the safety of its residents.
The order also criticized the administration of President Joe Biden for failing to initiate any rescue or evacuation operations for Americans, including Floridians, stranded in the region and for not providing requested information about plans for such operations.
The White House announced its plan to evacuate Americans from the region on the same day as DeSantis’ executive order was issued. The plan involves at least four flights a day to repatriate citizens, and it follows confirmation of 27 Americans killed in the ongoing conflict, which has claimed over 2,600 lives on both sides. Additionally, there are reports of a “handful” of Americans held as hostages by the terrorist organization Hamas in Gaza.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who recently visited the area and met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, announced the U.S. government’s commitment to continue efforts to find countries in the region willing to accept refugees fleeing Gaza, including Americans. This comes as Israel prepares for a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip.