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WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: President Biden Gives Oval Office Address on the United States’ Response to Hamas’ Terrorist Attacks Against Israel and Russia’s Ongoing Brutal War Against Ukraine

Last night, President Biden addressed the nation on our response to Hamas’ terrorist attacks against Israel and Russia’s ongoing brutal war against Ukraine. As the President said: we are facing a global inflection point, and making sure Israel and Ukraine succeed is vital for our national security, as well as helping address the humanitarian needs in Ukraine and Gaza.

See below for what they are saying:

Members of Congress

Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin: “Thank you, @POTUS , for reminding America that we have a singular role in the world fighting against terrorists like Hamas and tyrants like the infamous war criminal, Vladimir Putin. We are fortunate to have a President who knows the lessons of history and is determined to maintain America’s indispensable leadership role while upholding our values.” [Tweet, 10/19/23]

Chair, Senate Appropriations Committee, Washington Senator Patty Murray: “As someone who voted against the Iraq war, I’m glad to see President Biden make this point clear—this is an important message for @POTUS to deliver as a friend of Israel.” [Tweet, 10/20/23]

Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi: “Tonight, President Joe Biden masterfully presented the case that American leadership on the world stage is necessary for preserving and promoting democracy.  In his Oval Office address, the President strongly reiterated America’s commitment to the people of Israel and the people of Ukraine as they defend their democracies. Congress must swiftly consider the President’s request for supplemental national security funding, including humanitarian assistance for the people of Gaza.  It is long overdue for House Republicans to bring the House to order so we can honor this responsibility. President Biden has been masterful in managing these crises, with deep experience and with global relationships that are rivaled by none.  In this perilous moment, America is fortunate to have a strong, steady, wise commander-in-chief honoring American leadership and promoting American values on the world stage.” [Statement, 10/19/23]

Colorado Senator Michael Bennet: “@POTUS is right, it’s our duty to support Ukraine and Israel as they fight to defend their democracies. The United States stands with them.” [Tweet, 10/19/23]

Colorado Congresswoman Diana DeGette: “I agree with @POTUS . We can’t let “petty, partisan, angry politics get in the way of our responsibilities as a great nation.” We must elect a Speaker, and then pass an aid package to address the international crises in Israel and Ukraine.” [Tweet, 10/19/23]

Connecticut Congressman Joe Courtney: “POTUS made clear that we have a responsibility as a great nation to defend and support our allies and help innocent victims of war. Congress must quickly respond to his budget request and deliver the aid to defend our allies and ensure peace at home.” [Tweet, 10/19/23]

Connecticut Congressman John Larson: “President Biden demonstrated why, with his experience, he is the right person at the right time to guide us through this crisis,” said Larson. “I could not be prouder of his efforts and strategy going forward. He is resolved and committed to our allies, Ukraine and Israel, but also is pushing the need for humanitarian aid. That comes out of experience, going back to Golda Meir and countless leaders during his time on the world stage. It is now up to Congress to adopt and rapidly approve the request for resources the President has called for.” [Statement, 10/19/23]

Delaware Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester: “Moral clarity and strength from @POTUS . We must reject ALL forms of hate and Congress must act quickly to provide needed aid to our closest allies.” [Tweet, 10/19/23]

Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz: “I’m proud to follow your lead @POTUS . This moment demands your experience, compassion and resolve. The US must back our allies in and , both 1st lines of defense vs. tyranny, terror & hatred. Their fight is our fight. I trust Joe Biden to keep these threats from our shores.” [Tweet, 10/19/23]

Florida Congresswoman Kathy Castor: “This is a call to action to all freedom-loving people to stand up for democracy at home and abroad. America must stand by our allies, insist upon the protection innocent civilians and work for peace. Thank you, President Biden for providing leadership and moral clarity.  [Tweet, 10/19/23]

Florida Congressman Jared Moskowitz: “Thank you @POTUS for saying loudly and clearly that America stands with Israel and Ukraine. Tomorrow, I look forward to reviewing the President’s urgent budget request he submits to Congress to support our allies.” [Tweet, 10/19/23]

Illinois Congressman Bill Foster: “Tonight, @POTUS reminded us that American leadership is built upon our democratic values and that the United States must stand strongly against hatred and tyranny at home and abroad.” [Tweet, 10/19/23]

Illinois Congressman Mike Quigley: “Tonight @POTUS reaffirmed what I’ve believed for months — the survival of Ukraine’s democracy is critical to our own. The proposed aid package reflects that importance. It ensures Ukraine & Israel can respond to present threats, while addressing necessary crises here at home.” [Tweet, 10/19/23]

Maryland Congressman Steny Hoyer: “I agree with what President Biden made clear tonight: the wars we see in Israel and Ukraine are part of an existential struggle between fascism and freedom, despotism and democracy, might and right. The decisions Congress makes in the coming weeks will determine democracy’s fate for decades. If sovereignty, democracy, and international law are to endure – and endure they must – we need to protect those principles not only in America but also where they are most threatened. Today, that is Ukraine and Israel.” [Statement, 10/19/23]
Maryland Congressman John Sarbanes: “Thank you, @POTUS . We must support Ukraine, support Israel and provide humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in Gaza.” [Tweet, 10/19/23]

Massachusetts Congresswoman Lori Trahan: “President Biden spoke clearly and unequivocally tonight. The United States will not stand by while democracy comes under attack — at home or abroad. We will stand with our allies, and we will reject hate and terrorism wherever they arise.” [Tweet, 10/19/23]

Massachusetts Congressman Bill Keating: “I stand with @POTUS & what I firmly believe to be the majority of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in supporting the people of Israel & Ukraine as they defend their very existence. As @POTUS said, the survival of these democracies is integral to our own national security.” [Tweet, 10/19/23]

Massachusetts Representative Jake Auchincloss: Yes, the President met the moral moment. Our ally democracies are under attack from terrorists, from tyrants, from totalitarianism and the President is responding with strong statesmanship and with clarity of purpose, and now it’s incumbent on Congress to match his resolve. We know that a majority of the Republican conference has been in support of Israel, of Ukraine, of Taiwan. The votes exist. What is necessary is for House Republican leadership to jettison their extremists and to unlock bipartisan governance so we can set aside the petty infighting and instead actually govern, not just for this democracy here at home, but for democracies the world over. [CNN, 10/20/23]

Michigan Congresswoman Haley Stevens: “I echo President Biden – we must ensure democracy, reject all forms of hate, and stand by our allies. @POTUS , thank you for your leadership.” [Tweet, 10/19/23]

New Jersey Representative Mikie Sherrill: “I think we’ve seen strong support also from the Republicans in the Senate. This is something that has wide agreement despite the far-right extremists falling away and as you’ve heard, being inexplicably more supportive of Putin for some reason. But there is a great deal of support. What was so masterful about the President’s speech last night was that he tied the global consequences of not supporting Ukraine, I think delineated how if you are a strong supporter of Israel, you need to be a strong supporter of Ukraine. If you are a strong supporter of democracy, you really need to be a supporter of our efforts in both of those fronts. I thought as well what he said that was so important was also a desire to do so along with American values, our belief in humanitarian aid for Gaza as well as our concern here at home that we make sure that we are doing everything we can to protect Americans against anti-Semitism, against islamophobia. And really, I think, in an empathetic way he talked about the little boy who was killed in a hate crime and said these are Americans, we’re together in this, we’re together.” [MSNBC, 10/20/23]

New York Congressman Adriano Espaillat: “President Biden has made things crystal clear. We must act now to fight terror, protect civilians, and maintain democracy in Israel, Gaza, Ukraine, and Taiwan. House Republicans must put egos aside and join House Democrats on a bipartisan path forward.” [Tweet. 10/20/23]

Ohio Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur: “Applauding President Biden for his strong and personal words tonight as he addressed the nation. Let Congress act with dispatch to heal the deep wounds of body and soul in Israel and for the Palestinian people, and continue its support of Ukraine’s noble fight for Liberty.” [Tweet, 10/19/23]

Ohio Congressman Greg Landsman: “We are the world’s indispensable leader, as the president said tonight. This moment is as serious as it gets, and it demands serious leaders. We need to respond to this moment by coming together, getting a Speaker who will work in a bipartisan way to keep your government open, continue investments in our economy, and provide the strength and support our global partners need.” [Statement, 10/19/23]

Texas Congressman Lloyd Doggett: “President Biden has made the case for supporting the fight against terrorism and war crimes whether from Putin or Hamas as well as the need for immediate humanitarian support to the many innocent people in Gaza. And I salute his call to reject both antisemitism and Islamophobia.” [Tweet, 10/20/23]

Texas Congresswoman Veronica Escobar: “It’s time to build a world that is safer, more peaceful, and honors our shared humanity. Grateful for @POTUS ’ steadfast leadership as we continue to face uncertainty around the globe. We are the United States of America and there is nothing we can’t do.” [Tweet, 10/19/23]

Virginia Congresswoman Jennifer McClellan: “Tonight, @POTUS called on Congress to uphold America’s values, support Israel and Ukraine, and deliver humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza. At this time of global crisis, Congress must get back to governing. @HouseDemocrats stand ready.” [Tweet, 10/19/23]

Former New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg: “I thought President Biden’s speech last night was exceptional. […] I thought it was an exceptional definition of what the American role should be in the world. We have to lead in the area of defending democracy and we have to lead in the area in my opinion of defending market economies. But this was a good speech. It could have been given by George W. Bush. I think it was essentially a George W. Bush speech about how you engage internationally to protect our interests. That is what it is about. Protecting our interests. I thought he did a superb job.” [CNBC, 10/20/23]

Former Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill: “I think [the President] really did an amazing job last night. He was in command. He was strong. He took the moral high ground. He took the ground that Americans should be most comfortable with, that is, we do have a stake around the world in democracies, in standing up to thugs and bad guys and torturers, and, you know, violent extremists.” [MSNBC, 10/20/23]

State and Local Government Officials

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont: “I commend President Biden for his powerful statement in support of Israel and Ukraine, and his clear expression of American values. I join him in his call for Congress to act quickly to provide aid to our allies.” [Tweet, 10/20/2023]

Maryland Governor Wes Moore: “We are living through a moment when thousands of innocent Palestinian and Israeli civilians are suffering and grieving, both overseas and at home. Outside of the Middle East, we have seen how this violence has given rise to division and acts of hatred and violence directed towards both Muslim and Jewish communities. In Maryland we do not—and we will never—tolerate hatred. Not toward Muslims. Not toward Jews. Not toward Christians. Not toward anyone. Now is the time for us to stand together in love and community. We are encouraging Marylanders to help combat hate in their communities: If you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1 If you witness or experience a hate crime or hate incident, you can make a report by dialing  1-800-492-TIPS For concerns related to schools, dial 1-833-MD-B-SAFE [Tweet, 10/19/2023]

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz: “.@POTUS gave a powerful speech last night after returning from Israel and reaching a deal to provide needed humanitarian aid to Gaza. The vast majority of Palestinians are not Hamas, and Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people. We cannot let terrorists like Hamas win.” [Tweet, 10/20/23]

New York Governor Kathy Hochul: “Congress must act on the @POTUS’s request for emergency funding to support Israel and Ukraine, and provide humanitarian aid to Gaza. It is essential for our national security and ensure America remains a beacon of hope for generations to come.” [Tweet, 10/19/2023]

Foreign Policy Voices and Leading Organizations

Richard Haas, Former President of the Council on Foreign Relations and former United States Diplomat: “Speech by President Biden from Israel nothing less than masterful, mixing support for Israel with advice, the personal & the policy. So far @potus deserves high marks for undertaking a difficult diplomatic mission that has grown more difficult and for getting the balance right. [Tweet, 10/20/19]

John E. Herbst, Senior director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center and a former US ambassador to Ukraine: “It has been a good week for Joe Biden. In a tour de force, he visited Israel and delivered a pitch-perfect message of support for its embattled people and some careful observations on how to deal with the challenges ahead. Then one day after that trip, he gave a powerful speech from the Oval Office laying out the major dangers presented to global order, vital US interests, and US leadership by Vladimir Putin’s aggression to subdue Ukraine and Hamas’s savage attack on Israel. US presidents are usually elected for reasons related to the economy and other domestic issues, but presidents often establish their legacy at moments of international peril. […] It was Biden’s second bravura presidential moment in two days. In its clarity, strategic focus, and sunny summons of American values and leadership, it recalled Ronald Reagan at his best. This is good for Biden and better for us.” [Article, 10/19/23]

David Makovsky, Ziegler Distinguished Fellow and Director of Program on Arab-Israel Relations at the Washington Institute of Near East Policy: “During his Oval Office address, @POTUS clearly outlined the stakes for the U.S. at this “inflection point in history:” that when terror and tyranny go unchecked, the “cost and the threats to America and the world keep rising.” [Tweet, 10/19/23]

Jonathan Panikoff, Director of Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative in the Middle East Programs and former deputy national intelligence officer for the Near East at the US National Intelligence Council: “Tonight, against the backdrop of his own political and domestic challenges, Joe Biden demonstrated what US leadership in the world looks like. Biden’s speech is best viewed in the context of an age-old question: How many times must we repeat the same mistakes? This Saturday will mark two weeks since the deadliest attack on the Jewish people since the Holocaust. The lessons the world learned from that atrocity, and from World War II more broadly, resonate today more than ever. Peace should always be the goal. But while a peace achieved by the appeasement of autocrats and terrorists may calm tensions temporarily, it is likely to lead to a far bigger conflict in the future. We are, as the president said, at an “inflection point.” […] There is a difference between a war of choice and a war of necessity. And what Biden highlighted tonight is that Israel and Ukraine are both engaged in wars of necessity—wars required to ensure the security of their people, to defend their homelands, and to safeguard democratic ideals.” [Article, 10/19/23]

Daniel Fried, Former US Ambassador to Poland and Weiser Family Distinguished Fellow at the Atlantic Council: “Biden weaves together strategy, values, and US interests. Links “the idea of America, the promise of America” with American interests in supporting Ukraine & Israel. Powerful expression of American grand strategy from Truman & Reagan.” [Tweet, 10/x/23]

Mark Hertling, Former United States Army office: “ [President Biden] tied both Israel’s actions and Ukraine’s actions to a fight for survival, a fight for protection of their people, a fight for freedom and dignity… [H]e also said that others are watching, both our friends, our foes, our competitors. What he then did, which I found very moving, was he tied all of that not to the money, not to what’s expected, not to the capacity of Americans to help, but he tied it all to what should be our values, our human dignity, our respect for one another, our religious freedoms, and our freedoms writ large.” [CNN, 10/20/23]

David Rothkopf, Founder and CEO of TRG Media and The Rothkopf Group: “Biden has reminded us in his speeches over the past few weeks–on democracy, in support of Israel, tonight in support of action to combat terrorism and aggression–that nothing is so important to a speech as conviction. These have been vital speeches because of not just their…” [Tweet, 10/19/23]

Paul Rieckhoff, President of Righteous Media Inc. and U.S. Army Veteran: “His best speech ever. A brilliant, focused, righteous, and inspiring talk to the nation. To our allies, to our enemies, and to the world. Exactly the right tone, strategy and message.” [Tweet, 10/19/23]

AIPAC: “Thank you @POTUS @JoeBiden for your pro-Israel leadership and heartfelt address in solidarity with our ally.
We urge Congress to expeditiously approve this emergency funding request to ensure Israel has the resources it needs to protect its families and drive Hamas out of Gaza.” [Tweet, 10/19/23]

Jeremy Ben-Ami, President, J Street: The President did a great job balancing the need to support Israel in its effort to hold those who perpetrated the greatest evil against the country to account and the need to protect the Palestinian civilian population and meet their basic humanitarian needs. [Tweet, 10/19/23]

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Official news published at https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2023/10/20/what-they-are-saying-president-biden-gives-oval-office-address-on-the-united-states-response-to-hamas-terrorist-attacks-against-israel-and-russias-ongoing-brutal-war-against-ukrai/

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