EXCLUSIVE: The No. 3 House Republican is throwing his support behind the Biden administration’s decision to redesignate the Houthis as a terror group, though he suggested the label should never have been stripped.
“Though it took Joe Biden three years to figure out what Republicans already knew, there’s no time like the present to ditch the failed foreign policy that led to unprecedented attacks on American troops and international commerce,” House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, R-Minn., told Fox News Digital.
“Hopefully the president has learned an important lesson: When terrorists show you who they are, believe them.”
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House Majority Whip Tom Emmer is backing President Biden’s decision to designate the Houthis as terrorists. (Photo by Valerie Plesch/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
The U.S. and U.K. led a coalition of countries in striking Houthi positions in Yemen on three occasions this month, most recently on Tuesday.
Iran-backed Houthi fighters have been attacking ships in the Red Sea they accuse of being tied to Israel. The rebel group has said it is in response to Israel’s military campaign in Gaza.
President Biden called the Houthis terrorists when answering questions by reporters on Friday.
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President Biden’s administration removed the Houthis from the Foreign Terrorist Organization list in February 2021. (Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
His administration lifted the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) label against the militant group in February 2021. The designation was made under former President Trump.
Biden officials announced Wednesday morning that the Houthis would be added to the Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) list over their actions in the Red Sea recently.
The SDGT designation is slightly less severe than FTO. For instance, immigrants associated with FTO designees can be denied U.S. visas and in some cases deported, while there is no immigration provision associated with SDGT.
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“We’ve taken this action to pressure the Houthis to cease their terrorist activity, including missile and drone attacks against international shipping,” a senior administration official said.
Houthi fighters and tribesmen stage a rally against the U.S. and the U.K. strikes on Houthi-run military sites near Sanaa, Yemen, on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024. (AP)
“The ultimate goal of sanctions is to convince the Houthis to de-escalate and bring about a positive change in behavior. If the Houthis cease their attacks, we can consider delisting the designation.”
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Biden has faced criticism from both the right and the left over his administration’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war.
Republicans have accused the president of not taking a stronger stance toward Israel, while progressives have staged protests against what they view as insufficient aid to Gaza.