Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., who is also running for president, on Tuesday slammed President Joe Biden’s acceptance of an Israel-Hamas hostage deal and said he would not agree to the arrangement if he was the U.S. leader.
“No, because we have nine Americans held hostage right now by Hamas, had been there for six weeks, including at least one child. And by now I would have expected American Special Forces to perhaps play a hand in extracting them,” Phillips, a Democrat presidential rival to Biden, told CNN’s Abby Phillip when asked whether he would accept the agreement to release 50 Israeli women and children in exchange for 150 jailed Palestinians.
“I think it’s absurd, shocking, and dismaying that six weeks later we still have American hostages held by a terror organization in Gaza,” he added.
“I’m happy for the Israelis. Don’t get me wrong. Hamas should release all hostages. But the fact that we have Americans sitting in Gaza right now held hostage is appalling and should be addressed immediately.”
If all Americans were included, “of course I would approve it,” he told CNN.
“If there’s a single American that is still held hostage after this deal, no,” he said. “I think it’s that important, Abby. I think the American president has an obligation to extract Americans. It’s been six weeks, and I’m happy that some are being released, but every single American citizen should be part of that group.
“And if I were the American president, I would not agree to anything until every single one of them is released. I would demand it. And if it wasn’t done, we have to use every lever available to us to ensure it.”
Biden on Tuesday welcomed the deal.
“Jill and I have been keeping all those held hostage and their loved ones close to our hearts these many weeks, and I am extraordinarily gratified that some of these brave souls, who have endured weeks of captivity and an unspeakable ordeal, will be reunited with their families once this deal is fully implemented,” he said in a statement.
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Solange Reyner is a writer and editor for Newsmax. She has more than 15 years in the journalism industry reporting and covering news, sports and politics.
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