As he boarded Air Force One on Friday, President Joe Biden was confronted with a number of yelled queries from reporters, one of which pertained to the deployment of Israeli ground forces into Gaza. His reply elicited a brief reaction and a misinterpretation.
One reporter questioned, “Should Israel delay the ground invasion until you can get more hostages out?” as CNN’s Kaitlan Collins wrote on her X account.
Biden responded, “Yes.”
In reply, the Republican Party offered a sardonic remark.
Biden, who got to use the big stairs to board AF1 tonight, says "yes" when asked if Israel should delay its ground invasion.
He is now heading off to the beach. pic.twitter.com/kJYA09QNQY
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) October 21, 2023
Nonetheless, the White House recanted Biden’s response on Friday evening.
Collins tweeted shortly after she initially reported that White House communications director Ben LaBolt had claimed the president had not heard the entire question. Extended in scope, the White House issued a statement.
Peter Doocy’s report for Fox News indicates that Biden appeared to have a comprehensive understanding of the remaining inquiries.
“Overnight, there was some real confusion here on the Biden beat as the president, who publicly supports whatever Israel wants to do against Hamas, appeared to confirm reports that privately he is telling the Israelis to pump the brakes,” said Doocy on Saturday’s Fox & Friends.
He recited the following passage from the official statement: “The president was far away. He didn’t hear the full question. The question sounded like, ‘Would you like to see more hostages released?’ He wasn’t commenting on anything else.”
Doocy said the explanation is “kind of puzzling because he could apparently hear the first question just fine.”
“But they have now fully walked that back,” Doocy added. “He is at the beach house in Rehoboth. We don’t expect to see him again for the rest of the weekend.”
Former ambassador John Bolton asserts that the act of Hamas militants releasing an extremely restricted quantity of detainees was a calculated effort to delay the imminent Israeli ground invasion.