Speaker Mike Johnson accuses Biden of reneging on foreign aid deal, wonders if it was a 'senior moment'

President Biden suggested he might withhold weapons shipments if Israel launches ground operation in Rafah, sparking outrage among Republicans.

Speaker Mike Johnson accuses Biden of reneging on foreign aid deal, wonders if it was a 'senior moment'
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
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House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) has sharply criticized President Joe Biden for suggesting that the United States could withhold weapons shipments to Israel if the country launches a full-scale ground operation in Rafah, a city in the southern Gaza Strip where many Palestinians have sought refuge during the ongoing war against Hamas.

In an interview with Politico on Wednesday, Johnson accused Biden of going back on a deal to pass a $95 billion foreign aid bill last month. The speaker expressed hope that the president was experiencing a "senior moment" and that his comments did not accurately reflect U.S. policy.

During a CNN town hall, Biden shared his long-standing opposition to Israel conducting a ground operation in Rafah, citing concerns about increased civilian casualties. "I made it clear that if they go into Rafah — they haven't gone in Rafah yet — if they go into Rafah, I'm not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities — that deal with that problem," Biden said.

In a separate interview on Thursday with "Fox and Friends," Johnson condemned Biden for signaling that his administration might halt weapons shipments to Israel, a key U.S. ally, more than six months into the country's fight against Hamas following the group's deadly surprise attack in October of last year.

"He's defying the will of Congress and he's defying what his own top officials in the White House assured me in writing and verbally before that supplemental was passed and even in the days since," Johnson said of Biden. "This idea of withholding weapons to Israel as a condition of somehow, you know, Joe Biden wanting to micromanage their war effort over their defensive effort is catastrophic policy."

The speaker emphasized the potential consequences of such a decision, stating, "It would be devastating to our closest ally in the region, and it would go directly against the will of what the members of this body voted on just several days ago, so they have got to answer the American people in answer to us and we're on that right now."

Biden's comments have sparked outrage among Republicans, who view the suggestion of withholding weapons shipments as a betrayal of a key U.S. ally and an overreach of executive power.

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