Former United States President Donald Trump, who is running again for the Republican Party's nomination for the 2024 presidential elections, used the hostage deal Israel cut with Hamas to attack his opponent, incumbent President Joe Biden.
"Has anyone noticed that Hamas has returned people from other countries but so far has not returned a single American prisoner? There is only one reason for this: no respect for our country or our leadership," Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform. "This is a very sad and dark time for America!"
About 20 minutes later, when the crisis surrounding the release of the second group of hostages was still in full swing, Trump wrote: "Hamas now wants a better deal for the hostages. This is not going to end well!"
On Friday, Biden expressed hope that the temporary cease-fire would be extended and more hostages would be returned. Biden also said that his goal is to include at least two American citizens in the first rounds of hostage releases.
Trump's blows against Biden in the context of Israel's war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip did not start Saturday night. In an interview two weeks ago with the American Spanish-language channel Univision, Trump said that "these Hamas attacks are a shame. Unfortunately, American taxpayers' dollars helped finance these attacks, which according to many reports came from the Biden administration."
Also about a month ago, at the annual conference of the Republican Jewish Coalition, Trump levied the accusation that "Joe Biden's weakness caused an attack on Israel " and said that "we give Gaza $100 million dollars, but Hamas takes 100% of it. This is unacceptable." According to Trump: "If I were president, the attack on Israel would never have happened."
In an interview with Univision, the former president also said that "Israel has every right to defend itself with overwhelming force," but on the other hand he clarified that the US should not intervene in the war, but "simply let it unfold" because "a lot of people are dying" and "there is nothing to be done about it."
In the same interview, Trump also attacked Israel, claiming that it is failing in the work of informing the world and "the other side is winning." According to the former president, there is no more hatred in the world and in human history than the hatred of the Palestinians toward Israel and toward the Jews, "and probably vice versa as well."
Even in the first days of the war, Trump did not miss opportunities to attack Israel, and also Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - against whom he has held a grudge ever since in November 2020 the prime minister called to congratulate Biden on his election victory, a victory that Trump still continues to deny.
In an interview with Fox News last month, Trump said of Netanyahu that "he was not ready and Israel was not ready." According to him, "under Trump, they didn't have to be ready."
Five days after the October 7th massacre, Trump again repeated the claim that "Israel was not ready." In a speech in Palm Beach, Florida, Trump also said: "When you talk about the intelligence or things that have failed in the last week, they've gotta straighten it out because they're fighting potentially a very big force, they're fighting potentially with Iran."
"I heard Biden's senior security officials say the other day, 'We hope that Hezbollah does not attack from the north, this is the weak point,'" Trump added, criticizing - while possibly referring to Defense Minister Yoav Gallant: "Hezbollah is very smart, and they have a national defense minister that says - I hope Hezbollah doesn't attack us from the north. Who ever heard of an idiot saying something like that."
It seems that so far the criticism of Israel has not hurt Trump. According to the 538 polling site, the former president leads in polling for the upcoming Republican Party primaries with an overwhelming majority of 60.3%, followed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis standing at only 12.6%.
In polls conducted in the last two weeks regarding a potential election matchup, Trump leads over Biden by about 4.3%. The 538 poll average shows that only 38.9% are satisfied with Biden as president, while 42.1% see Trump in a "positive light."