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Ron DeSantis slams White House over the “marketing” of Iran nuclear deal

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U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis says that while he always opposed the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran last year, he thought at worst they were simply naive about the Iranian regime.

But after comments made last week by a top White House adviser on the marketing of the proposal, he says that “it was all a fraud.”

“Basically this deal was initiated with Iran’s hardliners, negotiated with Iran’s hardliners, and is empowering Iran’s hardliners,” the Ponte Vedra Beach GOP Congressman and 2016 Senate candidate said early Friday evening while addressing members of the Republican Party of Florida at their spring quarterly meeting in Tampa.”What this deal has done is a boon to the Ayatollah, it’s been a boon to the Iranian regime, and they are emerging as the dominant power for the Middle East. That is not going to be good long term for America’s security,” he said.

Congressional Republicans like DeSantis are enraged by the comments made in last week’s New York Times Magazine by Ben Rhodes, the Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications for U.S. In the piece, Rhodes is quoted as boasting about creating an “echo chamber” of experts and journalists supportive of the deal.

The story depicts Rhodes as leading an effort to create a false narrative about the nuclear deal – that it would empower Iran’s moderates at the expense of Supreme Leader Ali Khamanei and other hardliners.

The deal sets limits on Iran’s ability to build a nuclear weapon, while freeing the Middle Eastern nation of international sanctions.

“I mean, I’d prefer a sober, reasoned public debate, after which members of Congress reflect and take a vote,” Rhodes says in the piece. “But that’s impossible.”

DeSantis says that the warning lights should have been flickering when Rhodes called the Iran nuclear deal the “Obamacare of the second term.”

Noting how several promises made by Obama regarding the Affordable Care Act crumbled when enacted, DeSantis the same thing was happening with the Iran deal.

“The myth of the moderate and the opening and the ability to change the world for the better. They knew that wasn’t the case, they knew exactly who they were gong to be empowering,” he said.

Members of the House Oversight Committee want Rhodes to testify early next week to elaborate on his comments in the Times. So far, he reportedly has resisted the request.

DeSantis also blasted Hillary Clinton regarding her email issues while serving as secretary of state. He says that as somebody who dealt with classified material while serving in Iraq for the Navy as a JAG officer, he would be in serious trouble if he did what Clinton is accused of doing.

Having said that, he told the group of Republicans that  they shouldn’t  “hold your breath” regarding the FBI investigation into Clinton’s emails.

Referring to how President Obama recently said that while the White House doesn’t get involved in such cases, he’s sure that Clinton didn’t betray national security, DeSantis says it’s obvious what will happen.

“That’s sending a signal to (Attorney General) Loretta Lynch to say,’hey, no go on this, go ahead and pass on the prosecution.”

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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