The decade's most triggering comedy
President Joe Biden said an Israeli occupation of Gaza would be a “big mistake” and that there must be a “path to a Palestinian state” in the wake of the ongoing deadly conflict between Israel and Hamas.
“I think it’d be a big mistake,” Biden said on CBS’ “60 Minutes” broadcast Sunday evening. CBS spoke to Biden on Thursday.
The president added that Hamas does not represent all Palestinians and affirmed that the group must be “eliminated entirely.” However, Biden also said there must be a “Palestinian authority” and a “path to a Palestinian state.”
Last weekend, Hamas launched deadly terrorist attacks on Israel that killed more than 1,400 people, including children. Israel is now waging a massive counteroffensive, launching airstrikes in Hamas-controlled territory and preparing for a ground offensive.
“Can you foresee U.S. troops in combat in this new Middle East war?” CBS News reporter Scott Pelley asked.
“I don’t think that’s necessary,” Biden responded. “Israel has one of the finest fighting forces in the country. I guarantee you we’re going to provide them everything they need.”
Biden also answered “yes” when asked whether the threat of terrorism has increased in the U.S. due to the Middle Eastern conflict. The president said he has met with Homeland Security, and the FBI in the Situation Room to discuss how to prevent “lone wolf” or coordinated attacks on synagogues or Jewish people, saying the administration is making a “major effort” to prevent such attacks.
“Is it time for a ceasefire?” Pelley asked.
“Look, there’s a fundamental difference,” Biden said. “Israel is going after people who have engaged in barbarism that is as consequential as the Holocaust. So I think Israel has to respond. They have to go after Hamas. Now Hamas is a bunch of cowards. They’re hiding behind the civilians. … I’m confident the Israelis are going to do everything in their power to avoid the killing of innocent civilians.”
The president also issued a warning to Iran not to interfere in the conflict, saying his message to Iran is, “Don’t. Don’t, don’t, don’t.”
Biden added that so far, there is “no evidence” that Iran knew about Hamas’ attack beforehand or helped plan it.
Biden also said the U.S. is in talks about how to help Palestinian civilians who are caught in the danger zone, but “it’s hard.”
On Friday, Biden appeared on a video call with Americans in Israel whose loved ones disappeared during the attack.
“Why do you feel so strongly about speaking to these families personally on Zoom?” Pelley asked.
“Because I think they have to know that the president of the United States of America cares deeply about what’s happening,” Biden responded.
Pelley said during the broadcast that Biden seemed “tired” during the interview.
“America’s oldest president seemed tired from directing all of this, but he was very clear on what he stood for and how his policies and his view would see America through,” the CBS journalist said.
“It had been a rough week and we could see it on him. Mr. Biden will be 81 next month. And he has said that when he’s tired, his life-long stutter can creep back in,” Pelley said.
On Sunday night, former President Donald Trump attacked CBS over the broadcast, accusing the network of “protecting” Biden with a “highly partisan” softball interview.
“The show ’60 Minutes’ should be ashamed of themselves. They just interviewed Crooked Joe Biden, and led him along like a lost child,” Trump posted on his social media platform, Truth Social. “Each question contained the answer, and was so weakly and apologetically asked that it was a JOKE which should be considered a campaign contribution to the Democrat Party.”
Trump added that CBS never apologized to him for “mistakes” in its coverage of Hunter Biden’s laptop.