After delivering an address on the United States’ response to Hamas’ invasion of Israel, and the ensuing war, President Biden once again fled the podium instead of answering questions.
Flanked by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Vice President Kamala Harris, Biden read the assigned talking points and then promptly left the scene.
At the presser, President Biden said that at least 14 U.S. citizens were among those who died in the Hamas attack.
“We now know that American citizens are among those being held by Hamas,” Biden said. “I’ve directed my team to share intelligence and deploy additional experts from across the United States government to consult with and advise Israeli counterparts in hostage recovery efforts.”
During his speech, President Biden referred to the Hamas attack as a “act of sheer evil.” He stated that the attack “brought to the surface painful memories, the scars left by millennia of anti-Semitism and genocide against the Jewish people.”
President Biden firmly condemned the attack and reaffirmed the United States’ support for Israel.
“When Congress returns I will ask them to take urgent action to fund the national security requirements of our critical partners,” he said. “This is not about party or politics. It’s about the security of our world, security the United States of America.”
On Tuesday, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan had told reporters, “We do not know about their condition and we cannot confirm a precise number of American citizens” who are being held hostage.
“We believe that there are 20 or more Americans who at this point are missing,” Sullivan said during a press briefing. “But I want to underscore and stress that does not mean necessarily that there are 20 or more American hostages. Just that is the number who are currently unaccounted for.”
It is not clear what the U.S. military response to Americans murdered and taken hostage will be. But Special Forces operators are readying for potential rescue operations, and a second Naval carrier group is being deployed to the Middle East.