White House calls Trump's Israel-Hamas war response 'revolting and dangerous' – NBC News
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The White House is going after former President Donald Trump’s response to the Israel-Hamas war, characterizing his call for an expanded travel ban “revolting and dangerous.”
“It is revolting and dangerous to tear people apart right now with cruel poison that undermines our basic values as Americans,” White House spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement to NBC News. “And no one who praises Iran-backed terrorist groups has any credibility when it comes to protecting our national security from terrorist threats.”
Biden, and his White House, have been increasingly willing in recent weeks to engage with Trump, who remains far and away the front-runner in the polls in the Republican presidential race.
On Monday, Trump called for a new — and more expansive — ban on immigrants from certain countries, and for the first time, he included Gaza.
As a candidate in 2015, Trump proposed a total “shutdown” on Muslims entering the U.S. As president, he tried to enact a sweeping executive order, which was eventually limited to five Muslim-majority countries, along with North Korea and Venezuela.
Biden then rescinded that ban when he took office.
“Following the horrific terrorist attacks in Israel, President Biden has been unequivocal: There is no place for hate in America — not against Jews, not against Muslims, not against anyone. On his very first day in office, President Biden was proud to rescind the hateful Muslim travel ban instituted by his predecessor, which violates core Americans principles,” Bates said, adding, “After the terrorist atrocities in Israel and after heartbreaking murder of a 6-year-old Palestinian American child this week — a 6–year–old child — this is a moment when all leaders need to come together against hate; against Islamophobia, against antisemitism.”
Trump spokesman Steven Cheung said it was “incorrect to call it a Muslim ban” and it showed “how stupid the Biden people are. Truly moronic.”
Trump has faced significant criticism — including from within his own party — for his initial response to the Hamas attacks on Israel. He criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and praised Hezbollah, a Lebanon-based group designated by the U.S. as a terrorist group, as being “very smart.”
Since then, Trump has chosen a different approach, being sure to emphasize that he stands with Israel and supports a harsh approach toward Hamas and anyone who might have a whiff of support for Hamas.
On Monday, Trump also said he would “proactively” send immigration agents to “pro-jihadist demonstrations” in the U.S. to remove noncitizens and implement “strong ideological screening of all immigrants,” which would include a person’s rejection of Hamas.
Bates said immigrants already undergo extensive vetting.
“There is strict national security vetting to determine whether individuals coming from anywhere in the world have ties to terrorist organizations,” he said, adding that “no one who praises Iran-backed terrorist groups has any credibility when it comes to protecting our national security from terrorist threats.”
The Trump campaign did not return a request for comment.
Within the Republican field, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has fought to outflank Trump on the right on Israel, first calling for a ban on refugees from Gaza and baselessly claiming that Palestinians are “all antisemitic.” On Tuesday, he also said he opposed sending any humanitarian aid to Gaza.
Amanda Terkel is politics managing editor for NBC News Digital.
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