GOP candidates react to attacks on Israel by Palestinian militants

Candidates for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination condemned the Saturday attack on Israel by militant group Hamas.

“Every American should condemn the unprovoked and massive attack on Israel by terrorists in Hamas,” Former Vice President Mike Pence said in a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “Our prayers are with the families and soldiers of our most cherished ally. @netanyahu says Israel is ‘at war’ America Stands With Israel[.]” 

Hamas’ attack involved its militants infiltrating Israeli towns and the launching of missiles and has resulted in the deaths of at least 250 people in Israel and 232 in Gaza, according to Israeli local media and the Palestinian government. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the attack “murderous” in a televised address Saturday.

“We are at war — not in an operation or at rounds, but in a war,” Netanyahu said. “The enemy will pay an unprecedented price. … We are at war and we will win it.”

Former President Donald Trump said Israel “has a right to defend itself” in a statement.

“Sadly, American taxpayer dollars helped fund these attacks, which many reports are saying came from the Biden Administration,” Trump said. “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.”

“The dastardly terrorist attacks perpetrated against innocent Israeli civilians by Iran-backed terror group Hamas deserve a swift and lethal response,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said in his post on X. “Israel not only has the right to defend itself against these attacks, it has a duty to respond with overwhelming force. I stand with Israel. America must stand with Israel.”

Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy said he is “appalled by the barbaric and medieval Hamas attacks.”

“Shooting civilians and kidnapping children are war crimes,” Ramaswamy said in a post on X. “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.”

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley called Hamas “a bloodthirsty terrorist organization backed by Iran.”

“The reports out of Israel are horrific with a stunning number of dead and wounded and should be universally condemned,” Haley said on X. “Israel has every right to defend its citizens from terror. We must always stand with Israel and against this Iranian regime.”

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott said he was “horrified” by the attack.

“This blatant disregard for innocent life must be unequivocally condemned,” Scott said on X. “Israel has a right to defend itself and the United States must stand in support of its steadfast ally.”

“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,” North Dakota Doug Burgum said on X.

“Our prayers go up for the all the victims of these horrific attacks. We also must remember who pays for this terrorism: Iran,” Burgum continued. “An Iran that is billions of dollars wealthier thanks to Joe Biden.”

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie blamed Biden’s “appeasement” for the attack.

“Biden’s appeasement of Israel’s enemies has invited this war against Israel,” Christie said in a post on X. “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 continued.

A spokesperson for the White House National Security Council said early Saturday that the U.S. “unequivocally condemns the unprovoked attacks by Hamas terrorists against Israeli civilians.”

“There is never any justification for terrorism. We stand firmly with the Government and people of Israel and extend our condolences for the Israeli lives lost in these attacks,” Adrienne Watson said in a statement. “National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has spoken to Israeli National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi and we remain in close contact with our Israeli partners.”

Updated 4:05 p.m.

Tags 2024 GOP presidential primary 2024 presidential election Benjamin Netanyahu Donald Trump Doug Burgum Hamas Israel Israeli-Palestinian conflict Jake Sullivan Joe Biden Mike Pence Nikki Haley palestine Ron DeSantis Tim Scott Vivek Ramaswamy