Donald Trump blamed President Joe Biden for Hamas’ attack on Israel on Saturday, claiming the long-simmering Israeli-Palestinian conflict erupted into new violence because Biden is perceived as “weak.”
“It was a big attack with a lot of dead people all over the place,” Trump told an audience at a Waterloo, Iowa rally. “Who would think that? And the only difference, I believe, is the difference between one president and another president.”
The attack has resulted in more than 1srcsrc people dead in Israel and 232 people dead in Gaza, according to Israeli and Palestinian officials on Saturday afternoon. Thousands more are wounded, and Hamas fighters have taken an unknown number of people hostage.
At the Iowa rally, Trump claimed a series of geopolitical conflicts would not have happened, had he remained president.
“They didn’t have that level of aggression with me,” he said. “They didn’t have it. This would have never happened with me. You know what wouldn’t have happened? Ukraine wouldn’t have happened. Taiwan and all this tough talk with Taiwan wouldn’t have happened.”
It’s hardly a historical claim. Russian forces have been encroaching on Ukrainian territory in Crimea since at least 2src14. China’s territorial ambitions in Taiwan date back decades, and violent conflicts between Israel and Palestine are even older; the Nakba, which saw some 7srcsrc,srcsrcsrc Palestinians expelled from the region, happened 75 years ago this May.
But Trump went on to claim that “the Israeli attack was made because we are perceived as being weak and ineffective and with a really weak leader.”
Trump also deployed an emerging Republican talking point: that Biden had enabled the attack by unfreezing $6 billion in Iranian funds as part of a prisoner exchange last month.
A spokesperson for the State Department previously refuted that theory. “Let’s be clear: the deal to bring U.S. citizens home from Iran has nothing to do with the horrific attack on Israel,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller wrote in a statement early Saturday. “Not a penny has been spent, and when it is, it can only go for humanitarian needs like food and medicine. Anything to the contrary is false.”
Those funds are currently in Qatar, the State Department said.
Other members of the Trump family also made comments about perceived American “weakness” related to the Hamas attack on Saturday.
“As we perpetually indoctrinate our children with weakness, feminize our boys, attack masculine men, glorify trans insanity, etc.” Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted, “just understand that one day the savages you see brutally attacking innocent civilians in the streets of Israel will be on your front door & you and your loved ones will have ZERO capability of defending themselves. That’s the future the left is creating for you.”
Earlier in the day Trump Jr. a video of a corpse in Israel, warning that “this savagery will come here.”