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A group of 19 Republican governors sent a letter to President Biden on Friday in which they criticized his administration’s initial response to Hamas terrorists’ attack on Israel and called on him to provide “unequivocal support” for Israel as it continues to fight the terror organization.
More than 2,800 people have been killed in the war since Hamas launched its largest attack on Israel in decades last week, leading to retaliatory action from Israeli forces. Thousands more have been wounded, and many others have been taken hostage by Hamas and raped, tortured and murdered.
The governors said in the letter that they want to offer their support to Israel and strongly condemn Hamas’ attacks against the Jewish State, which began last week.
“We pledge our steadfast support to our ally Israel following the appalling attacks perpetrated against Israel’s sovereignty and innocent civilians on October 7, 2023,” the governors wrote. “We write today to make clear that our states absolutely condemn these heinous acts of terrorism led by Iran-backed Hamas and proudly stand with Israel and the Jewish people.”
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A group of 19 Republican governors sent a letter to President Biden on Friday calling on him to provide “unequivocal support” for Israel. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
On the day Hamas launched its attack, Biden released a statement saying the U.S. “unequivocally condemns this appalling assault against Israel by Hamas terrorists from Gaza, and I made clear to Prime Minister Netanyahu that we stand ready to offer all appropriate means of support to the Government and people of Israel.”
The president’s statement added, “Terrorism is never justified. Israel has a right to defend itself and its people. The United States warns against any other party hostile to Israel seeking advantage in this situation. My Administration’s support for Israel’s security is rock solid and unwavering.”
Other members of the administration made public comments condemning the attacks that also called on Israel and Hamas to agree to a ceasefire, a request that sparked backlash from Republican lawmakers.
Shortly after the attack, the U.S. Office of Palestinian Affairs issued a statement saying, “We unequivocally condemn the attack of Hamas terrorists and the loss of life that has incurred. We urge all sides to refrain from violence and retaliatory attacks. Terror and violence solve nothing.” The statement was later taken down.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the day after the attack began in a since-deleted post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, that he “encouraged Türkiye’s advocacy for a cease-fire and the release of all hostages held by Hamas immediately.”
The GOP governors said some of the administration’s comments on Hamas’ attack against Israel created confusion that “further emboldened state-sponsors of terror.”
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The 10 governors said they pledge their “steadfast support to our ally Israel following the appalling attacks perpetrated against Israel’s sovereignty and innocent civilians.” (Getty)
“Your administration’s initial response—including a call for a ceasefire—created dangerous confusion that has only further emboldened state-sponsors of terror and their henchmen to continue attacking Israel,” the letter read. “Unfortunately, this type of international chaos and violence is a direct result of your administration’s appeasement-first foreign policy. Now is the moment to radically change course.”
The governors called on the president to “project American strength by, among other things, clearly and unequivocally condemning these attacks and supporting Israel’s unquestioned right to respond and defend itself.” When the lives of American citizens are in danger, they wrote, the president “must speak boldly and act decisively.”
The governors outlined in their letter a list of requests that includes prioritizing the protection of Americans who remain in harm’s way in Israel, providing “unequivocal support” to Israel as it defends itself from Hamas’ attacks, easing Biden’s “appeasement and empowerment” of Iran including freezing the $6 billion payment made to the country in a prison exchange and expanding sanctions against the Iranian regime and closing the U.S.-Mexico border to “protect Americans from similar threats at home.”
“To date, we have learned that Hamas terrorists murdered 27 American citizens and have taken an unknown number of Americans hostage,” the governors said. “We pray for the families of those killed and missing. And we understand there is a process underway to locate American citizens taken hostage or otherwise missing and to bring them home swiftly and safely.”
The governors called on the president to “project American strength” by condemning Hamas’ attacks and supporting Israel’s right to defend itself. ((Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images))
“But the lack of transparency in this process leads us to question whether your administration is pursuing this objective with maximum energy and diligence. Your administration should not rest until these Americans safely return to American soil. We also ask that you promptly communicate any continuing losses of American life to the states so that we can provide support and assistance to impacted families,” the letter continued.
The governors who signed the letter include Florida’s Ron DeSantis, Georgia’s Brian Kemp, Virginia’s Glenn Youngkin, Iowa’s Kim Reynolds, Texas’ Greg Abbott and North Dakota’s Doug Burgum, among others.
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DeSantis, who is running for president, has issued an executive order authorizing “logistical, rescue and evacuation operations” through Florida’s Department of Emergency Management to evacuate Floridians in Israel from the Middle Eastern country amid the ongoing war.
The governors concluded the letter by requesting Biden take “immediate attention” to address their concerns, adding, “Though our position has weakened in recent years, the world is still watching and waiting for the United States to exhibit leadership.”