RNC chair criticised for saying Israel attack is ‘great opportunity’ for GOP candidates to slam Biden

‘She carries the water for Trump who fuels Jew hatred every day,’ lawyer writes on X

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Thursday 12 October 2023 19:54 BST
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RNC chair says Israel attack is ‘great opportunity’ for GOP candidates

The chair of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel, is facing criticism after she appeared on Fox News to comment on the response of the Republican presidential candidates to the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Ms McDaniel said that it’s a “great opportunity for our candidates to contrast where Republicans have stood with Israel time and time again and Joe Biden has been weak”.

She quickly faced criticism following her comments on Saturday.

“She carries the water for Trump who fuels Jew hatred every day. And now says the murder of hundreds [of] Jews is a great opportunity for her fellow low travelers. What a reprehensible person,” attorney Daniel Miller wrote on X.

An RNC spokesperson told The Independent in a statement: “The RNC and Chairman McDaniel have long been fierce advocates for Israel, its people, and condemned the attacks immediately. It’s despicable that the media is twisting Chairman McDaniel’s words and providing cover for Democrats that have repeatedly attacked Israel’s right to exist.”

The RNC emphasised that Ms McDaniel’s comments were not in response to the attack on Israel by Hamas militants, noting that Fox News host Griff Jenkins began the segment with the chairwoman by saying: “Many of the [Republican presidential] candidates are putting the onus on Joe Biden, on President Biden and the White House ... in an RNC statement you put out you say you blame Joe Biden for unfreezing six billion for Iran and reiterated you’re standing behind Israel, can you expand on your thoughts there?”

One user of the platform X wrote: “How thoughtful of Israel to be attacked by Hamas so Republican candidates for POTUS can uselessly attack President Biden for political points.”

“This is all you need to know about how much Republicans really care about Israel,” Janet Johnson wrote.

Mike Schoemer, a communications specialist, said Ms McDaniel’s comments revealed, “what’s wrong with politics in a nutshell. Rally to protect human life? Nah. This is an ‘opportunity’. Disgusting”.

Ray Wert, a former staffer for ex-Michigan governor and current Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and head of the content sales department at Gawker Media, added: “Shame on @GOPChairwoman for cravenly trying to turn more than 200 dead Israelis into ‘a great opportunity’ for @GOP candidates.”

This comes as at least nine Americans have been killed following the attacks on Israel by Hamas, prompting a full siege and blockade of the Gaza Strip.

“At this time, we can confirm the death of nine US citizens,” a White House National Security Council spokesperson said on Monday. “We extend our deepest condolences to the victims and to the families of all those affected, and wish those injured a speedy recovery.

“We continue to monitor the situation closely and remain in touch with our Israeli partners, particularly the local authorities.”

Regarding Americans being taken hostage by militants, the spokesperson said that “there are US citizens unaccounted for. We are closely monitoring information about hostages taken by Hamas,” according to The New York Times.

Three days into the attack, Israel has said that its border with the Gaza Strip has not yet been fully secured, but added that Israeli forces have taken control of the communities targeted by Hamas, according to the BBC.

Hamas fighters shot civilians on sight. The Israeli military has said that some militants may still be entering the country.

At least 700 Israelis and 500 Palestinians have been killed so far. Ten British citizens are dead or missing.

Hamas is holding dozens of people hostage, mostly situated in Gaza. A spokesperson for Hamas said that four hostages had been killed by airstrikes from Israel, but this information is yet to be confirmed. The militants claimed to be holding more than 130 Israeli civilians and soldiers captive in Gaza.

This story has been updated with additional context and a statement from the RNC

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