Oct 19, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Biden: "I refuse" to let Hamas and Putin win

President Biden during his primetime address on Thursday night. Photo via Getty Images

During a primetime address on Thursday night, President Biden drew a direct link between Russia's invasion of Ukraine and Hamas attack on Israel and called on Congress to help him defeat both threats.

Why it matters: Biden appealed to Americans to think outside their own borders — and made the case for providing crucial aid to its allies abroad.

  • Biden urged Congress on Thursday to approve billions of dollars in funding for Israel following Hamas' surprise attack — and for Ukraine in its ongoing war with Russia.
  • The sweeping emergency funding request is reportedly likely to total around $100 billion, with $60 billion for Ukraine and $10 billion for Israel.
  • Any funding request has to pass the Senate and the Republican-led House, which has been without a speaker for more than two weeks.

Zoom in: Biden sought to strike a contrast with the isolationist views of some of his Republican rivals during his rare primetime address.

  • Many Republican candidates vying for the nominee in 2024, including former President Trump, appear skeptical of boosting U.S. military aid abroad in the aftermath of Hamas' attack on Israel.
  • Biden also tried to convince skeptical Americans of the importance of sending aid to its allies abroad, a position that divides the public.

"Hamas and Putin represent different threats. But they share this in common: They both want to completely annihilate a neighboring democracy," Biden said Thursday.

  • "We cannot and will not let terrorists like Hamas and tyrants like Putin win, I refuse to let that happen."

Between the lines: "We must, without equivocation, denounce antisemitism. We must also without equivocation, denounce Islamophobia," Biden said.

  • "To all of you hurting, those of you hurting, I want you to know, I see you. You belong. And I want to say this to you: You're all America. You're all America."
  • "And I know many of you in the Muslim American community, the Arab American community, the Palestinian American community, and so many others are outraged and hurting, saying to yourself, here we go again, with Islamophobia and distrust we saw after 9/11."
  • "Just last week, a mother was brutally stabbed. A little boy here in the United States, a little boy who just turned six years old was murdered in their home outside of Chicago. His name was Wadea, Wadea, a proud American, a proud Palestinian American family. We can't stand by and stand silent when this happens."

The big picture: Biden's speech comes on the heels of his visit to Tel Aviv earlier this week, when he pledged solidarity with Israel in its war against Hamas.

  • "I caution the government of Israel not to be blinded by rage," Biden said on Thursday.
  • "We are going to make sure ... you have what you need to protect your people, to defend your nation," Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday.
  • Biden also spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky earlier on Thursday before his address and reiterated his commitment to supporting his country in its ongoing war against Russia, the White House said.

Go deeper: U.S plans to send 2 Iron Dome batteries to Israel as war intensifies

Editor's note: This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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