Thursday 9 May 2024

Top House Armed Services Dem: ‘Huge Problem’ White House Says Biden’s Israel Threat ‘Not Really the Admin.’s Position’

 On Thursday’s broadcast of NewsNation’s “The Hill,” House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) stated that President Joe Biden’s statement to CNN on weapons to Israel “is not really the administration’s position” according to people in the White House he’s spoken to, he’s “frustrated by that”, and such misstatements are “a huge problem.”

Host Blake Burman asked, “You know some of the divisiveness around this, whether it’s on the left or on the right, you just heard from the Israeli prime minister there. I wonder where you stand on this, sir, and what you made of the President’s comments last evening.”

Smith answered, “I think they lacked clarity, and what the President said there is not really the administration’s position. He gave the distinct impression that if Israel goes into Rafah in any way, we will cut them off entirely. And I have spoken with John Kirby, the spokesperson for the National Security Council, Steve Ricchetti, a senior adviser to the President, as well as several other people last night and today. That’s not actually the position of the administration. The position is that if Israel goes into Rafah with an aggressive bombing campaign, then we will restrict the sale of those types of weapons. He’s not meant to say that if they go into Rafah at all, in fact, Israel’s already in Rafah, as we know. So, my main criticism of the administration and the President right now is they just haven’t been clear on what their policy is. It is not the policy of the Biden administration that they’re going to cut off Israel entirely if they go into Rafah.”

Burman then asked, “So, why the differences? Look, you’re the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, you get to speak to folks that most everyone else doesn’t get to talk to, … but it’s obviously — what you’re saying is different from what the President said last night. So, I wonder why then did the President say that?”

Smith responded, “I am frustrated by that as well. Look, the short answer to that question is the President thought he was expressing one thing and he said it in a way that didn’t make that clear. Look, we’re human beings. We express thoughts. They don’t always come out in the detail that we would like them to. During the course of this interview, I’m sure I’ll say something that, after it’s done, I’ll go, gosh, I didn’t really make that clear. But this is a huge problem.”

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