GOP presidential candidates declare support for Israel after Hamas assault: ‘Joe Biden funded these attacks’

Several GOP presidential candidates declared their support for Israel on Saturday after Iranian-backed Hamas terrorists invaded southern portions of the country and killed at least 100 people.

Local Israeli media reported that at least 100 people have been killed in the wide-ranging assault, while Gaza health officials say that 198 Palestinians have died in Israeli air strikes made in response to the Hamas attack. Hospitals are treating at least 561 wounded people, including 77 who were in critical condition, the Associated Press reported based on public statements and calls to hospitals. 

In a video message early Saturday morning, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “Citizens of Israel, we are at war — not in an operation, not in rounds — at war.”

Ambulance crews responded to areas around the Gaza Strip, and sirens sounded across Israel. Soroka Medical Center in Beer Sheva, the largest town in southern Israel, is treating 140 wounded, including 20 in serious and critical condition. Some of these wounded people are civilians. Another hospital in Ashkelon is treating 94 victims wounded in various conditions.

AT LEAST 100 DEAD AS HAMAS LAUNCHES UNPRECEDENTED ATTACK ON ISRAEL, NETANYAHU SAYS NATION IS ‘AT WAR’

Israel war, Hamas

The Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Palestinian resistance group Hamas, annihilate Israeli tank as smoke rises near Israel-Gaza border in Gaza Strip, Gaza on October 07, 2023. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump, who maintained a good relationship with Israel during his tenure in the White House, called the attacks a “disgrace” and insisted that Israel should defend itself with “overwhelming force.”

“These Hamas attacks are a disgrace and Israel has every right to defend itself with overwhelming force. Sadly, American taxpayer dollars helped fund these attacks, which many reports are saying came from the Biden Administration,” Trump wrote in a post to Truth Social.

“We brought so much peace to the Middle East through the Abraham Accords, only to see Biden whittle it away at a far more rapid pace than anyone thought possible. Here we go again,” he added.

Weighing in on the matter, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis offered a similar sentiment following the initial attacks. 

In a video message shared to X, formerly known as Twitter, DeSantis declared: “America stands with Israel.”

“Israel is now under attack,” DeSantis said in the clip. “I stand with Israel. America stands with Israel. Not only do they have a right to defend themselves, they have the duty to defend themselves against these Iranian-backed Hamas terrorists. Iran has helped fund this war against Israel and Joe Biden’s policies that have gone easy on Iran has helped to fill their coffers. Israel is now paying the price for those policies.”

“We’re gonna stand with the state of Israel. They need to root out Hamas and we need to stand up to Iran,” he added.

Nikki Haley, a former ambassador to the United Nations who also served as the governor of South Carolina from 2011 to 2017, also insisted it’s time to back Israel as it seeks to defend itself from a “bloodthirsty terrorist organization backed by Iran”.

ISRAELI PM NETANYAHU DECLARES ‘WAR AFTER HAMAS TERRORISTS LAUNCH MASSIVE ATTACK: LIVE UPDATES

Nikki Haley, Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis, Tim Scott

From left to right: Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, former President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and South Carolina GOP Sen. Tim Scott. (Scott Olson, Michael M. Santiago via Getty Images)

“Hamas has declared war on Israel on the Jewish holiday of Shemini Atzeret and the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War. Make no mistake: Hamas is a bloodthirsty terrorist organization backed by Iran and determined to kill as many innocent lives as possible,” Haley said in a statement Saturday morning. “The reports out of Israel are horrific with a stunning number of dead and wounded and should be universally condemned.”

“Israel has every right to defend its citizens from terror. We must always stand with Israel and against this Iranian regime,” she added.

Echoing his GOP counterparts, tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy noted that the terrorists behind the attacks on Israel “cannot be allowed to prevail,” and that the country’s right to defend itself shouldn’t be questioned.

“I am appalled by the barbaric and medieval Hamas attacks,” Ramaswamy wrote in a post to X. “Shooting civilians and kidnapping children are war crimes. Israel’s right to exist & defend itself should never be doubted and Iran-backed Hamas & Hezbollah cannot be allowed to prevail. I stand with Israel and the U.S. should too.”

South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott called for U.S. assistance to Israel and condemned the attacks, suggesting like many other Republicans did that President Biden “funded these attacks on Israel.”

“Hamas’ terrorist attack on Israel today is an assault on Western Civilization,” Scott said in a statement released by his campaign. “The truth is though, Joe Biden funded these attacks on Israel. America’s weakness is blood in the water for bad actors, but this is worse than that. We didn’t just invite this aggression, we paid for it. Iran is the biggest funder of Hamas. This is the Biden $6 billion ransom payment at work.”

“Israel must defend its people and the nation, and the United States must do everything we can to assist our ally Israel,” Scott added. “As Psalm 122:6 encourages us, we must pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”

Smoke rises over Gaza City on October 7, 2023 during Israeli air strikes. (MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images)

Former Vice President Mike Pence also declared his support for the country and insisted that Biden’s “weakness” on the world stage was responsible for the attacks.

“This is what happens when @POTUS projects weakness on the world stage, kowtows to the mullahs in Iran with a $6 Billion ransom, and leaders in the Republican Party signal American retreat as Leader of the Free World. Weakness arouses Evil,” Pence wrote in a post shared to X.

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“Time to get back to Peace through strength. Time to get back to American leadership. Time to make sure the terrorists in Hamas and Tehran know …. America Stands With Israel,” Pence added.

Criticizing the attacks through social media, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum called for the United States to provide “maximum support” to Israel.

“Iran and its terror sponsors in Gaza are showing the world their true face: pure evil. Israel is at war with brutal terrorists and the United States must provide maximum support to our democratic ally,” Burgum wrote in an X post. “Our prayers go up for the all the victims of these horrific attacks. We also must remember who pays for this terrorism: Iran. An Iran that is billions of dollars wealthier thanks to Joe Biden.”

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie also blasted Biden for the attacks on Israel, writing on X: “Biden’s appeasement of Israel’s enemies has invited this war against Israel. Appeasement anywhere never works. We must do whatever it takes to support the State of Israel in its time of grave danger, and we must end the scourge of Iran-backed terrorism. This terrorism is funded by Biden’s idiotic release of $6 billion to the Iranians.”

“The Hamas war against Israel is now the second war started under Biden’s failed presidency, first by Russia in Ukraine and now by Hamas in Israel. Both could have been deterred by strong American leadership. Under my presidency, America will restore the deterrence Biden has foolishly given away,” Christie added in the post.

A senior Hamas military commander, Mohammad Deif, announced the start of the operation in which he called on Palestinians everywhere to attack the Israelis.

“This is the day of the greatest battle to end the last occupation on earth,” he said in a broadcast on Hamas media, saying that 5,000 rockets had been launched.

Israel war, Hamas

People walk with the Palestinian flag as smoke rises near Israel-Gaza border in Gaza Strip, Gaza on October 07, 2023. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

According to Israeli media, gunmen opened fire on passersby in the southern Israeli town of Sderot, and footage of the fighting appeared to show attacks in city streets.

“A number of terrorists have infiltrated into Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip,” the Israeli military said in a statement. 

Residents in the area surrounding the Gaza Strip are urged to remain in their homes.

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The sound of rocket launches could be heard in Gaza as residents reported armed clashes along the separation fence with Israel, near the southern town of Khan Younis. The residents said they had seen significant movement of armed fighters.

U.S. National Security Council Spokesperson Adrienne Watson “unequivocally” condemned the attacks, calling them unprovoked and stressing that “There is never any justification for terrorism.”

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