We can’t trust Joe Biden to stand with Israel, lead America on the world stage

April 25, 2024

The Hill
Sen. Rick Scott
April 23, 2024

President Joe Biden has shown the American people that he will pander to his antisemitic base over supporting Israel, one of America’s greatest allies and the only democracy in the Middle East.

One of his first actions was to resurrect the failed Iran deal, and since then he has greenlit billions of dollars in sanctions relief to Iran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism. His pandering can be seen in our cities and on college campuses, where radical extremists rally violently in support of Hamas and the extermination of the Jewish people. This cancer has taken over the Democratic Party and caused violence against our Jewish communities.

President Biden has made clear with his decisions that the American people cannot trust his administration. I certainly do not, which is why I am highly concerned that without proper safeguards, the Biden administration will use this aid package as leverage against Israel.

On Oct. 7, Iran-backed Hamas terrorists burned people alive in their homes, raped women and young girls and murdered parents in front of their children. They brutally murdered 1,200 innocent people in Israel, including Americans, and, 200 days since the attacks, are still holding hostage eight Americans and more than 100 other innocent people in Gaza. I was in Israel earlier this month, my sixth visit to the Jewish State in my years as Florida’s governor and now U.S. senator, and I have led the charge in the Senate to support Israel.

I have voted for the Israel aid in this bill, only to see it fail in the Senate with all Democrats voting against it. For years, I have voted for significant funding for the Iron Dome, David’s Sling and other key military assets that help Israel defend itself from Iran-backed terrorism. I am leading the Stop Taxpayer Funding of Hamas Act, to condition aid on the release of hostages and ensure that we don’t send a single dollar of American taxpayer money to Gaza unless the president certifies that it won’t end up in the hands of Hamas terrorists.

Senate Democrats have blocked this bill from consideration or passage in the Senate three times, including when I tried to include it in the Senate-passed foreign aid supplemental in February. And just this week, the Senate Democrats are again refusing to vote on this very simple amendment.

That means that this bill still contains billions of dollars in aid that we know will go straight to Hamas, and does nothing to ensure the release of the hostages, including eight Americans. That’s unacceptable — and while I can tolerate policy disagreements, I cannot and will not support providing aid to terrorists who have murdered and continue to hold American citizens hostage.

President Biden is ceding his party to radical pro-Hamas extremists. While these anti-Israel mobs call for the destruction of Israel and threaten Jewish Americans, Biden doubles down in his criticism of Israel, terrified to anger the extremists in his base because he cares more about winning in places like Michigan than standing up to violent antisemitism. They chant “Death to America” in Iran but now Democratic activists are chanting it in Michigan and New York City. Right now, the Biden administration is considering sanctioning the Israel Defense Forces, and just a few weeks ago, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) was on the Senate floor calling for regime change in Israel, a free and democratic ally of the United States. The civil war inside the Democratic Party over Israel is completely out of control. By continuously undermining Israel, Democrats are doing the bidding of Iran and Hamas through radical antisemitic political activists.

Since day one, the Biden administration has emboldened Iran with appeasement, freeing billions of dollars to fuel Iran’s support of terrorism and turning its back on Israel. While it is extremely important to continue to fund Israel’s defense efforts, as I have fought to do for years, President Biden will use this as the leverage he needs to advance his radical, anti-Israel foreign policy to appease the antisemites in his own party.

I understand the urgency in delivering aid to Israel, but without safeguards in place to ensure that no money goes to Hamas or that Biden cannot say “strings attached,” this aid doesn’t protect Israel from being forced into an unacceptable compromise with the Biden administration while it’s at war.

Too often in Washington, compromise means that everyone gets what they want so nobody has to make a tough choice. The bill before the Senate today is a perfect example of this broken way of doing business that has become the norm in Washington. If given the opportunity to vote on these issues independently, as the House did, I would vote to support aid for Israel with strong safeguards prohibiting aid to Hamas, as I have multiple times — all of which have been blocked by Democrats prior to this vote.

I would vote to ban TikTok unless we see a total divestment from it by entities controlled by communist China. I would vote to sanction the evil regime in Iran. I would vote to support aid for Taiwan so it can fend off threats of invasion by China. And I would vote for the REPO Act, which allows for the confiscation of Russian assets while opposing the fact that this bill allows President Biden to send billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars in unaccountable aid to Ukraine, including billions to pay the salaries of Ukrainian politicians.

While some politicians will claim that the bill before the Senate today is some magic bullet that will restore order and protect democracy across the world, we know that’s not true. Most bills have some good policy; this one is not different. However, I cannot bring myself to look the other way and vote for policies that will in many ways prolong the suffering that Biden’s weakness and appeasement have caused for Americans and our friends and allies around the world every day.

Rick Scott represents Florida in the United States Senate. He is a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services and the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and the former governor of Florida.