At the third GOP primary debate, the Republican presidential candidates shared their perspectives on how Israel should handle its conflict with Hamas and the level of support the U.S. should provide. The debate occurred in the aftermath of an unprecedented terrorist attack by Hamas that claimed the lives of 1,400 Israelis and over 30 Americans, with more than 5,300 injuries and 240 individuals taken hostage.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, the leading candidate, emphasized a decisive stance, urging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to finish the job against Hamas. He denounced media blame on Israel for defending itself and criticized President Biden’s neglect, highlighting his actions as governor to rescue Floridians stranded in the aftermath of the attack.
Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley echoed a call to eliminate Hamas, support Israel unconditionally, and ensure the return of hostages. She emphasized the role of Iran in supporting terrorist entities like Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Houthis, urging a clear-eyed approach and expressing the importance of supporting Israel without dictating its actions.
Pharmaceutical executive Vivek Ramaswamy diverged by opting against financial support, emphasizing Israel’s self-reliant founding vision. He urged Netanyahu to exercise Israel’s right and responsibility to defend itself without external aid.
Senator Tim Scott emphasized Israel’s right to wipe out Hamas and called for U.S. support in this effort. He urged a stronger response against Iran, targeting the root of the problem rather than its proxies, advocating a forceful stance against evil.
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie pledged any necessary support to preserve Israel’s sovereignty, stressing the obligation to protect territorial integrity and the security of its people. He highlighted the need to prevent future attacks by focusing on Iran and collaborating with Western nations and Gulf States to isolate Iran from China, Russia, and North Korea.
The candidates collectively conveyed a mix of decisive military action, unwavering support for Israel’s sovereignty, and caution regarding financial aid. The discussions underscored the complex geopolitical dynamics surrounding the Israel-Hamas conflict.