GOP hopefuls bash Biden over Iran prisoner swap: ‘Habit of sending money to terrorists’

GOP presidential candidates excoriated President Biden over his administration’s deal with Iran to unfreeze $6 billion in Iranian funds to help facilitate the release of five American prisoners.

The Republican candidates slammed the agreement as providing money to a country supporting terrorism, noting the news emerged on the 22nd anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

The Associated Press reported that Secretary of State Antony Blinken approved the agreement last week, but Congress was notified Monday. 

“He had the audacity to announce this terrible deal today, September 11th. To pay for hostages will lead to kidnapping, ransom, and blackmail against Americans across the globe,” former President Trump posted on his Truth Social account.

Trump called Biden an “incompetent fool” and baselessly suggested he was getting a “kickback” from the funds returned to Iran.

“President Biden can’t seem to cut his habit of sending money to terrorists,” Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

“First, it was $400 million to Iran in 2016 when he was VP,” Scott wrote, referring to cash sent to Iran during the Obama administration to settle an arms deal dispute. The transfer coincided with the release of several Americans and the implementation of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

“Now, it’s $6 billion to Iran on 22nd anniversary of 9/11,” Scott continued, asserting Biden “is putting a price on American lives.”

Former Vice President Mike Pence similarly argued the deal “endangers Americans abroad,” while former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley echoed criticisms surrounding the timing.

“While Americans mourn 9/11, Biden lines the pockets of the Iranian ayatollahs who provide safe harbor to the current head of al-Qaeda,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) wrote on social media. “This deal bankrolls nuclear ambitions, hostage takers, and extremists who hate America.”

The terrorist organization al Qaeda, which was responsible for carrying out the 9/11 attacks, is believed to have named Saif al-Adel as the de facto leader of the group following the U.S. drone strike that killed former leader Ayman al-Zawahiri last summer. A U.N. report concluded al-Adel was based in Iran.

Various other Republican senators have criticized the Biden administration’s deal this week, calling it “shameful,” “terrible” and “ridiculous.”

Tags 2024 presidential election 9/11 anniversary Antony Blinken Donald Trump Iran Joe Biden Mike Pence Nikki Haley prisoner swap Ron DeSantis Tim Scott