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White House hits back at Stefanik after she blasts Biden in Israel

The White House is pushing back against House Republican Conference Speaker Elise Stefanik (R.N.Y.)’s speech at the Israeli government’s legislative branch on Sunday in which she attacked President Biden for his policy approach to the Israel-Gaza war. did.

White House Press Secretary Andrew Bates reaffirmed Biden’s “ironclad” support for Israel’s security in a statement, saying “Israel has no better friend than President Biden.”

“He was the first American president to visit Israel during wartime, that is, in the aftermath of the horrific October 7 terrorist attacks, and he was the first president to order the U.S. military to protect Israel from foreign attack. ” Bates added.

Mr. Bates said that before the U.S. killed Iran’s top general in 2020, Mr. Stefanik accused him of letting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “let us down” after the Oct. 7 attack. He harshly criticized former President Trump for not speaking out against him.

A week after the Oct. 7 attack, President Trump suggested that public discussions between the Biden administration and Israeli leaders helped Hezbollah plan further attacks on Israel. In a subsequent interview, he said that if he had been in the White House and called Israel’s defense minister a “bastard,” Israel “wouldn’t have been prepared.”

“Unlike some right-wing figures, President Biden has never condemned the Israeli government in the days since October 7, nor has he praised terrorist organizations like Hezbollah. You won’t be lectured by someone who was silent before those offensive remarks.

“Furthermore, the January 6th convicts imprisoned on January 6th should never be confused with the innocent hostages brutally captured by Hamas on October 7th,” Bates added. , noted Stefanik’s use of the term “hostages” to refer to those imprisoned on January 6th. Rioters convicted of related crimes.

Former President Trump was the first to refer to convicted rioters as “hostages.” The term is most closely associated with the approximately 250 hostages taken from his home during a Hamas raid on Israel on October 7, 2023.

Stefanik became the most senior congressman to visit Israel since Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel, citing concerns about planned operations in Gaza. He particularly criticized the suspension of some arms shipments.

The Biden administration has come under scrutiny for halting the transfer of about 3,500 heavy bombs to Israel as the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) prepares to move forward with operations in southern and central Gaza. The White House later announced plans to transfer $1 billion in weapons to the Jewish state.

“I have been clear domestically, and let me be clear here, that the president of the United States is willing to provide aid to Israel, aid formally passed by Congress, and pay a $6 billion ransom to ease sanctions on Iran. There’s no excuse to stop us from doing that.’ Either we’re the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, or we hang around and hide while our friends fight for their lives,” Stefanik said Sunday. He said this in remarks prepared in advance of his speech.

“No excuses. Full stop,” she added. “And that’s why I’ve sponsored or supported every single one of the pro-Israel measures that have been introduced in the U.S. Congress. Every single one of them.”

Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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