'Unprovoked,' 'Barbaric,' 'Medieval': Candidates Respond to Hamas-Israel Conflict

Everyone on the presidential slate has come out strongly in support of Israel in response to the terrorist group Hamas launching attacks on the Jewish state.
'Unprovoked,' 'Barbaric,' 'Medieval': Candidates Respond to Hamas-Israel Conflict
The skyline of Gaza City following an Israeli airstrike on Oct. 8, 2023. (Fatima Shbair/AP Photo)
Jackson Richman

The 2024 presidential candidates have come out in support of Israel in response to the U.S.-designated terrorist group Hamas launching attacks on the Jewish state.

At least 900 people in Israel have been killed in the Hamas attacks, which have consisted of rockets, shootings, rapes and hostage-taking. Approximately 300 people have been killed on the Palestinian side of the conflict.

JOE BIDEN: "The United States unequivocally condemns this appalling assault against Israel by Hamas terrorists from Gaza," said the president in a statement on Oct. 7.

"Terrorism is never justified. Israel has a right to defend itself and its people. The United States warns against any other party hostile to Israel seeking advantage in this situation," he added. "My administration’s support for Israel’s security is rock solid and unwavering."

ROBERT F. KENNEDY Jr.: "This ignominious, unprovoked, and barbaric attack on Israel must be met with world condemnation and unequivocal support for the Jewish state’s right to self-defense. We must provide Israel with whatever it needs to defend itself—now.
"As president, I’ll make sure that our policy is unambiguous so that the enemies of Israel will think long and hard before attempting aggression of any kind," posted the candidate, who switched his party affiliation from Democrat to Independent, on X, formerly Twitter.
DONALD TRUMP: Former President Trump blamed President Biden for the current situation in Israel. "Joe Biden betrayed Israel," he said at a rally in Iowa.

"I predicted war in Israel immediately after it was announced that Joe Biden gave the $6 billion to Iran," he added.

RON DESANTIS: "One of our greatest allies, Israel, has been attacked by terrorists funded by Iran—with over 800 Israelis murdered and 2,000 injured.

"The scenes of brutality are hard to watch. Innocent men, women, children, and the elderly," said the Florida governor in a statement.

"Hamas committed these acts for two simple reasons: They hate the Jewish people, and they are evil cowards," he added. "They were empowered by Joe Biden’s appeasement of Iran and a desire to ruin further normalization of ties within the Arab world with Israel."

Mr. DeSantis called on President Biden to enact a three-step plan: freeze any funds the United States has made available to Iran, cease any financial support for Hamas, and "immediately shut down America’s wide-open southern border to ensure we are in a position to better protect Americans here at home from these real threats."

NIKKI HALEY: Ms. Haley, who was the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President Trump, has come out with strong statements. On Oct. 7, she called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to "finish the job" and annihilate Hamas.

“Saturday’s terrorist massacre in Israel, murdering hundreds of innocent Israelis and at least nine innocent Americans, is another moment of moral clarity,” Ms. Haley said in a statement on Oct. 9.

“The fanatic Hamas terrorist group must be destroyed. But Hamas is only a small symptom of a larger disease," she continued. "Iran, Russia, and China are in league together, attacking Americans, American allies, and American values. This is a battle between the civilized world and barbarians. America must stand up for our citizens, our values, and our friends.

“Today, many are rallying to Israel’s side, as they should. But history has taught us that such support is often short-lived. There will be tough days and weeks ahead. Our commitment to Israel must not waver. It is central to our own security and to who we are as a country.”

Ms. Haley called for a four-step action plan: give Israel military and intelligence assistance, warn regional governments against escalating the conflict, cease U.S. backing of Palestinian entities or "United Nations-backed entities that side with Hamas or fail to denounce antisemitic activity," and freeze the $6 billion in Iranian assets the U.S. freed up in a prisoner exchange last month.

She added the United States should reimpose and enforce sanctions on Iran and buyers of Iranian oil.

MIKE PENCE: "Every American should condemn the unprovoked and massive attack on Israel by terrorists in Hamas. Our prayers are with the families and soldiers of our most cherished ally. Prime Minister Netanyahu says Israel is 'at war,'" said the former vice president in a statement.

"This is what happens when America's president 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," he continued. "Weakness arouses evil."

Appearing on CNN, Mr. Pence blamed both President Biden and former President Trump, whom he served under, for the ongoing situation in Israel. “But let me begin where we ought to start. I mean, that disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan has emboldened the enemies of freedom around the world,” he said.

"And now war is raging in Eastern Europe. And President Joe Biden’s kowtowing for the last two-and-a-half years to the mullahs in Iran, lifting sanctions, begging them to get back in the Iran nuclear deal, and then paying $6 billion in a ransom for hostages, I think set the conditions for this unprecedented terrorist attack by Hamas against Israel.

"But I also believe this is what happens when we have leading voices like Donald Trump, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Ron DeSantis signaling retreat from America’s role as leader of the free world."

VIVEK RAMASWAMY: "I am appalled by the barbaric and medieval Hamas attacks. Shooting civilians and kidnapping children are war crimes. Israel’s right to exist and defend itself should never be doubted and Iran-backed Hamas and Hezbollah cannot be allowed to prevail. I stand with Israel and the United States should too," posted the entrepreneur on X.
"America’s broken foreign policy establishment knew they were funding Hamas and went ahead with it anyway. The unprecedented $6 billion in ransom paid to Iran last month worsened it: Our taxpayer dollars are funding Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah. This will end on Day 1 of my administration," said Mr. Ramaswamy in another X post.
DOUG BURGUM: "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. Our prayers go up for 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," posted the North Dakota governor on X.

"There are reports of American citizens among the hostages taken by the Iran-directed Hamas terrorist organization. [This] Follows $6 billion Biden paid for five Americans taken by Iran and billions more in sanctions relief already provided.

Hamas says Iran was central to this invasion, yet Biden officials deny to cover their disaster. We need to support Israel in taking the fight to Iran and all its terror proxies," said Mr. Burgum in another post on X.
TIM SCOTT: "Hamas’ terrorist attack on Israel today is an assault on Western Civilization," posted the South Carolina senator on X on Oct. 7. "The truth is though, Joe Biden funded these attacks on Israel," he continued.

"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.

"As Psalm 122:6 encourages us, we must pray for the peace of Jerusalem."

CHRIS CHRISTIE: "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," posted the former New Jersey governor on X.

"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," he continued. "Under my presidency, America will restore the deterrence Biden has foolishly given away."

ASA HUTCHISON: "Today’s horrific attacks on Israel, on the 50th Anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, are symbolic of the times we find ourselves in with weak leadership in the White House. America has lost standing on the world stage. We must stand with Israel. We must stand for freedom and democracy. We must stand to face evil head-on," posted the former Arkansas governor on X.
Nathan Worcester contributed to this report.
Jackson Richman is a Washington correspondent for The Epoch Times. In addition to Washington politics, he covers the intersection of politics and sports/sports and culture. He previously was a writer at Mediaite and Washington correspondent at Jewish News Syndicate. His writing has also appeared in The Washington Examiner. He is an alum of George Washington University.