A Biden Administration official denied a baseless claim espoused by GOP lawmakers and former President Donald Trump that “American taxpayer dollars helped fund Palestinian militant group Hamas’ deadly attack on Israel Saturday morning, which Trump claimed “many reports are saying came from the Biden Administration,” though no evidence supports any claim U.S. funding went to Hamas.
Trump did not specify how the Biden Administration supported Hamas—and no evidence supports the claim that U.S. taxpayer money went to Hamas—though he might have been alluding to Biden re-starting humanitarian aid to Palestine, including $235 million in April 2021 primarily in aid to Palestinian refugees, after Trump canceled the assistance program three years earlier (the U.S. also has funded up to $100 million for a hospital network in East Jerusalem).
Republicans, including Trump’s 2024 challengers Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, also slammed Biden after the attack, claiming—without evidence—the Biden Administration’s agreement with Hamas-ally Iran last month to unfreeze $6 billion in Iranian assets in a prison swap to return five U.S. prisoners also contributed to the attacks.
White House National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson responded that those unfrozen funds “have absolutely nothing to do with the horrific attacks today,” adding: “this is not the time to spread disinformation.”
Watson also said the funds can only support “things like food and medicine for the Iranian people.”
President Joe Biden released a statement after speaking with Netanyahu, calling the offensive from Gaza “horrific” and an “appalling assault,” telling Netanyahu that the U.S. will “stand ready to offer all appropriate means of support” to Israel and its people, while Watson said the U.S. “unequivocally condemns” the attacks.
Trump also claimed his administration “brought so much peace to the Middle East” through the Abraham Accords—a U.S.-mediated bilateral agreement signed by Israel, as well as Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates in September 2020 to recognize Israel’s sovereignty—arguing Biden “whittle[d]
” that peace at a “far more rapid pace than anyone thought possible.”
Biden has maintained support for Israel, and has attempted to expand the accords and bring Saudi Arabia into the agreement.
Trump also called the attacks “a disgrace” on his social media platform Truth Social, arguing Israel “has every right to defend itself with overwhelming force”—though Trump’s assertion follows longstanding, bipartisan U.S. support. In his condemnation of the attack, Biden emphasized that Israel “has a right to defend itself and its people,” and said that support from the U.S.—a longstanding Israel ally—is “rock solid and unwavering.”
Former Vice President Mike Pence—one of Trump’s 2024 challengers who has slammed the former president in recent months—blamed Biden for “weakness on the world stage,” but focused his criticism on GOP foreign policy of isolationism championed by the Trump Administration, claiming the attack was the result of America’s “retreat on the world stage.”
Hamas launched a heavy military offensive from Gaza Saturday morning, killing at least 100 people in one of the largest attacks from the Palestinian territory in years. The attack, which Hamas took credit for, was widely condemned by leaders in the West, and prompted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to declare Israel at war, with Israeli forces leading a counter-offensive that has killed at least 198 people in Gaza while injuring more than 1,600. The attack, which follows months of escalating violence, also comes on the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, when Egypt and Syria launched an assault on Israel during the religious holiday.
House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.)—who is vying for House speaker following the historic removal of Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) this week—also accused the Biden Administration, writing in a post on X that the administration “must be held accountable for its appeasement of these Hamas terrorists, including handing over billions of dollars to them and their Iranian backers.”