Biden aides reportedly worried about Netanyahu’s congressional address: ‘Could make it far worse’

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Biden aides reportedly worried about Netanyahu’s congressional address: ‘Could make it far worse’

President Biden’s aides are reportedly concerned about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress and are worried the Israeli prime minister could criticize the president for not doing more to aid Israel in their response to Hamas.

“No one knows what he’s going to say,” a senior Biden administration official told Politico of Netanyahu. 

Netanyahu is expected to speak to a joint session of Congress in late July as several progressive lawmakers have spoken out against the remarks.

“[Netanyahu’s] video this week was not helpful at all,” another official told the outlet, referring to a video address delivered in English by Netanyahu accusing the U.S. of sending less military aid. “And he could make it far worse up there in front of Congress.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convenes the weekly cabinet meeting at the Defence Ministry in Tel Aviv, Israel, January 7, 2024.  (Reuters/Ronen Zvulun/Pool/File)

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Biden’s administration had previously denied that there was any drop in aid after Netanyahu raised the issue publicly. White House national security spokesman John Kirby said the U.S. was “perplexed” by Netanyahu’s claims. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, “We generally do not know what he’s talking about.”

He doubled down on the claim during a Sunday cabinet meeting, according to reports. 

Netanyahu described a “dramatic drop” in aid over the past four months and said he spent weeks pleading unsuccessfully with U.S. officials in private, which led to the video he posted last week. 

“I greatly appreciate the support of President Biden and the American administration for Israel. Since the start of the war, the U.S. has given us support in spirit and in material – defensive and offensive means,” Netanyahu began.

President Joe Biden

President Joe Biden at the White House on December 13, 2023, in Washington, D.C. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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“But four months ago, there was a dramatic decrease in the munitions coming to Israel from the U.S. For long weeks, we turned to our American friends and requested that the shipments be expedited. We did this time and again. We did so at the highest levels, and at all levels, and I want to emphasize – we did so behind closed doors. We received all sorts of explanations, but one thing we did not receive; the basic situation did not change. Certain items arrived sporadically, but the munitions at large remained behind,” he said.

While progressives such as Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-VT., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., have suggested they won’t go to the speech, other Democratic lawmakers have hesitated to say whether they would attend the joint session. 

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“I haven’t made up my mind yet,” Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., previously told Fox News Digital. 

Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., told Fox News Digital, “I haven’t decided.” 

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Fox News’ Julia Johnson and Anders Hagstrom contributed to this report.

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