Republican Critics of Trump's Netanyahu-Hezbollah Remarks

Some prominent Republicans are distancing themselves from former President Donald Trump after he frequently insulted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and praised Hezbollah fighters.

“Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, these are states and entities intent on eradicating Israel from the face of the earth.” That is not wise nor good,” Rep. Mike Lawler (R-NY), who represents a district that overwhelmingly supported President Joe Biden, told NBC News’ Kristen Welker on Thursday. “This is a fight of good versus evil.”

Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio), head of the House Intelligence Committee, told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto on Thursday that “Donald Trump has to answer for Donald Trump’s comment,” before adding that “weakness begets conflict.” People see opportunity where they perceive an opportunity to damage others and where they do not see a strong United States.”

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican who has frequently clashed with the former president, said on X, previously Twitter: “These evil terrorists have slaughtered women, children, the elderly, Israelis, and Americans alike.” It is never appropriate to celebrate insane killers or to denigrate one of our closest allies in their hour of need.”

The rebukes from Trump’s own party came after the former president and Republican presidential frontrunner began abruptly attacking Netanyahu on Wednesday in light of Israel’s continuing conflict with the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas.
“He’s been very badly hurt because of what’s happened here,” Trump said in an interview broadcast on Fox News Radio’s “Brian Kilmeade Show” on Wednesday night. “He wasn’t ready. He wasn’t prepared, and neither was Israel.”

Trump also chastised Netanyahu during a rally in Palm Beach, Fla., on Wednesday.

“I’ll never forget that Bibi Netanyahu let us down,” he remarked. “That was a very terrible thing.”

Trump went on to add that his government had a “bad experience with Israel as president” when it carried out a targeted attack in January 2020 to assassinate Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani, chief of the paramilitary Quds Force, who was in Baghdad at the time. Trump said that Netanyahu refused to assist the US in carrying out the airstrikes.

In his address, Trump also referred to the militant group Hezbollah — an Iranian-backed proxy group located in Lebanon that the US and other nations have labeled as a terrorist organization — as “very smart.”

Many of Trump’s Republican opponents have called his statements “inhumane” and “absurd.” The White House described the remarks as “dangerous and unhinged” in a statement issued on Thursday.

Sen. John Thune (R-SD), the Senate’s No. 2 Republican, stated that voters will be the ultimate arbiter of Trump’s speech.

“Under our constitution, he has the right to say whatever he wants.” “He can be held accountable for it,” Thune said on Fox News on Thursday. “That is what the American people must do.” They’ll have an opportunity to do so in the upcoming presidential election.”

“I hope people as they look at these leaders will make decisions and conclusions based upon who they think is best able to manage not only the United States of America and our domestic challenges, but the global stage, where the rest of the world looks for leadership,” Thune went on to say.

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