‘It’s plain wrong’: House Republicans react to Schumer’s speech

House Speaker Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA addressed Sen. Chuck Schumer’s call for elections in Israel on Thursday morning as he and other leaders were at the House Republican Issues Conference. 

“We want to speak very clearly and concisely to say that this is not only highly inappropriate, it’s just plain wrong for an American leader to play such a divisive role in Israeli politics while our closest ally in the region is in an existential battle for its very survival,” Johnson said in a video posted on X. 

Johnson said the US needs to stand with Israel and give its friend and ally its full support. Johnson accused the White House and Senate Democrats of standing with and supporting Iran and its proxies. 

“This is an extension of the Democrats’ foreign policy, which has projected weakness on the world stage and undermined our allies around the world. The most important election, in our view, is not what may happen in Israel but the one that is needed right here in the United States. It will happen in November, and it cannot get here soon enough,” Johnson said.

US HOUSE of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson holds a news conference on Capitol Hill, last month. (credit: LEAH MILLIS/REUTERS)

Schumer owes the people of Israel an apology

House Majority Leader Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) echoed Johnson, saying it’s “disturbing” to see the Senate Majority Leader attacking Israel at this time of war. Scalise said Schumer owes an apology to the people of Israel. To have Schumer attacking the democratically elected leadership of Israel is disgraceful, Scalise said. Scalise also accused Schumer of not criticizing Hamas and Iran. 

“The United States, since the formation of the Jewish state of Israel, has always stood by our ally. And in fact, there’s been no daylight between our two countries for a long time. It is sad to see that in Washington, the Democratic Party is starting to fracture and move away from that. It needs to stop,” Scalise said. “They need to look in the mirror and recognize who our friends are and who our enemies are. And if you can’t tell the difference, you aren’t responsible for leading.”

Scalise referenced the standalone Israel aid bill that House Republicans introduced but failed to garner enough votes. Johnson has yet to bring the national security bill, which ties aid for Israel and Ukraine, to the floor for a vote. 

Israelis deserve America’s support

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) directly challenged the obstacles Schumer outlined as the roadblocks to Israel achieving regional peace. 

“Israel deserves an ally. And the people of Israel and in captivity deserve America’s support, and Israel’s unity government and security cabinet deserve the deference befitting a sovereign democratic country,” McConnell said from the Senate floor. 

McConnel said the primary obstacles to peace in Israel’s region are genocidal terrorists like Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, who “slaughter innocent people and corrupt leaders of the Palestinian Authority, who have repeatedly rejected peace deals from multiple Israeli governments.”

It’s “grotesque and hypocritical” for Americans who hyperventilate about foreign interference in our own democracy to call for the removal of a democratically elected leader of Israel, McConnell said. McConnell called it unprecedented and said the US should not treat fellow democracies “this way.”

“Make no mistake: the Democratic Party doesn’t have an anti-Bibi problem. It has an anti-Israel problem, McConnell said. “Israel is not a colony of America. Only Israeli citizens should have a say in who runs their government. This is the very definition of democracy and sovereignty. Either we respect their decisions, or we disrespect their democracy.” 

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