‘Finish the Problem’: Presumptive GOP Nominee Trump Endorses Gaza Genocide

One commentator argued that while President Joe Biden has “bent over backward to support Israel,” Donald Trump would “be even worse.”

By Jake Johnson

Shortly before winning nearly every GOP primary on Super Tuesday and all but locking up the 2024 Republican nomination, former President Donald Trump said in a Fox News interview that he wants Israel to “finish the problem” in Gaza—a clear endorsement of a military campaign that has killed more than 30,000 people in less than five months and sparked one of the worst humanitarian catastrophes in recent history.

Fox host Brian Kilmeade told Trump that voters who have marked “uncommitted” on their primary ballots to register their opposition to President Joe Biden’s support for Israel’s war are “not gonna like you either because you are firmly in Israel’s camp.”

“Yeah,” Trump responded.

Asked whether he is “on board with the way the [Israel Defense Forces] is taking the fight to Gaza,” Trump said, “You’ve gotta finish the problem.”

“You had a horrible invasion. It took place. It would have never happened if I was president, by the way,” said Trump, who went on to claim that Hamas militants attacked Israel because they “have no respect for Biden” and because Israel “got soft.”

Trump dodged when asked whether he would support a cease-fire in Gaza.

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Until Tuesday, Trump had largely been quiet about Israel’s large-scale attack on the Gaza Strip, but as president he was a staunch supporter of the Israeli government.

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Trump’s administration recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, moved the American embassy to Jerusalem, and reversed longstanding U.S. policy that deemed Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory “inconsistent with international law”—a shift that the Biden administration rolled back last month.

Following Trump’s Fox interview Tuesday morning, the former president’s national press secretary Karoline Leavitt toldNBC News that Trump “did more for Israel than any American president in history.”

“When President Trump is back in the Oval Office, Israel will once again be protected, Iran will go back to being broke, terrorists will be hunted down, and the bloodshed will end,” Leavitt added.

With former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley officially dropping out of the GOP presidential primary race on Wednesday, a rematch between Biden and Trump is now essentially set for November.

As Democratic voters have used state party primaries in recent weeks to voice their objections to Biden’s unconditional support for Israel, The New York Timesreported Friday how the Trump campaign and its allies “plan to exploit that division to their advantage” during the general election.

“One idea under discussion among Trump allies as a way to drive the Palestinian wedge deeper into the Democratic Party,” the Times reports, “is to run advertisements in heavily Muslim areas of Michigan that would thank Mr. Biden for ‘standing with Israel.'”

In a column on Monday, The Intercept‘s James Risen argued that Trump and “his MAGA Republicans” would “be even worse” on Israel than the Biden administration, which has supported Israel’s Gaza assault militarily and diplomatically while also issuing mild calls for the protection of civilians, delivery of humanitarian aid, and a temporary cease-fire.

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“Trump is a big fan of war crimes, especially against Muslims,” wrote Risen, The Intercept‘s senior national security correspondent. “During his first term, he intervened on behalf of Special Operations Chief Eddie Gallagher, a Navy SEAL platoon leader convicted of posing for a photo with the body of a dead Iraqi; another SEAL team member told investigators that Gallagher was ‘freaking evil,’ but Trump said at a political rally that he was one of ‘our great fighters.’ Trump also pardoned Blackwater contractors convicted of killing Iraqi civilians in a wild shooting spree in Baghdad’s Nisour Square. There is no chance that he would try to stop Israel from indiscriminately killing Palestinians.”

“Although the Biden administration has bent over backward to support Israel, the president has said repeatedly in recent weeks that an independent Palestinian state is still possible. What’s more, political unrest within the Democratic Party is starting to have an impact on Biden, forcing changes in the White House’s approach to Israel,” Risen continued. “Trump would never face such pro-Palestinian pressure from within the Republican Party. He and his MAGA cult of Christian nationalists would never force Israel to accept a cease-fire—or a Palestinian state.”

A previous version of this story misidentified Nikki Haley as the former governor of North Carolina.

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