GOP Lawmakers Use Iran’s Attack on Israel to Blast Biden

GOP officials from both the House and the Senate took to the Sunday shows to try and chastise President Joe Biden for Iran’s attack on Israel on Saturday—even as Biden directed the U.S. to help intercept Iran’s drone and missiles.House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) and Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), along with Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL)

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GOP officials from both the House and the Senate took to the Sunday shows to try and chastise President Joe Biden for Iran’s attack on Israel on Saturday—even as Biden directed the U.S. to help intercept Iran’s drone and missiles.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) and Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), along with Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), J.D. Vance (R-OH), and John Kennedy (R-LA), all appeared on various Sunday morning talk shows to respond to Iran’s Saturday attack on Israel, its first direct attack on the U.S. ally. Each of them took turns in their respective interviews bashing the Biden administration’s Middle East policies—and then said that more aid funding needed to pass Congress to bolster Israel’s defenses.

Turner, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, tried to use his Meet the Press interview on Sunday to rail against the Biden administration’s perceived deference to Iran, arguing that the White House’s insistence on Sunday that it did not want to further escalate the conflict amounted to a dismissal of Iran’s attack, which came days after the killing of one of Iran’s top officials in Syria (which Tehran blames on Israel).

“The administration—because we were successful, because we invested in missile-defense technology with Israel—the administration is acting like, ‘Well, you know, we defended Israel against these attacks. This is not escalating,’” Turner told moderator Kristen Welker. “This is escalation.”

He then tried to list the various ways the Biden administration allowed Iran’s military operations to grow, saying the country “should never be allowed to be a nuclear weapons state” (despite former President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal) and noting the GOP refrain that the U.S. allowed $6 billion to flow to Iran to free U.S. prisoners. The Biden administration froze the transfer of those assets after the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by Hamas.

“Those assets are frozen and haven’t made their way to Iran,” Welker said, “as you know, Congressman.”

Rubio was one of multiple Republicans on Sunday who attacked Biden for reportedly telling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “take the win” and declaring the U.S. wouldn’t support a strike on Iran. Rubio told CNN’s Jake Tapper that the U.S. had no business telling a besieged nation how to respond.

“I’m not the one that was attacked by 3srcsrc rockets and missiles and drones. I do know that Israel has a very clear military doctrine, and that is that they respond to attacks by responding to those with something much more severe,” said Rubio, the vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

He added: “What I don’t understand is why Joe Biden and the administration would leak to the media the contents of a conversation in which he tells Netanyahu he doesn’t think Netanyahu should respond at all. It is the continuing part of this public game that they are playing which, frankly, encourages Iran and Hezbollah, which we haven’t even talked about, and the Houthis and all these other elements that are targeting Israel.”

Johnson, the House Speaker, tried to find a fine line between criticizing the administration and complimenting the U.S. response to the attacks. He told Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo that the U.S. showed “resolve” by helping intercept the Iranian drones, though he criticized Democrats for their past denouncement of Israel’s attacks on Gaza.

Still, he said House Republicans would work to again bring a supplemental aid package to the House floor “this week” and hinted that the package could include some aid for Ukraine, a previous point of contention for hard-line Republicans. Trump suggested on Friday that U.S. aid to Ukraine could be in the form of a “loan,” a position Johnson said on Sunday he was considering.

“He’s introduced the loan-lease concept, which is an important one that I think has a lot of consensus,” Johnson said, adding: “These are ideas that I think can get consensus and that’s what we’ve been working through. We’ll send our package—we’ll put something together and send it to the Senate and get our obligations completed.”

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