President Joe Biden is “disappointed” in himself after questioning the number of deaths in Gaza being reported by Hamas, so much so that he backtracked on earlier statements during a recent meeting with pro-Palestinian advocates.
The president’s meeting came one day after his October 25th press conference where he said he believed Hamas was being untruthful in its estimations of civilians killed during the ongoing war with Israel.
“I have no notion that the Palestinians are telling the truth about how many people are killed,” Biden said according to Fox News. “I’m sure innocents have been killed, and it’s a price of waging war.”
The next day, Biden sat down with five Muslim American leaders who urged him to have greater empathy for the people of Gaza. They spoke about families, relatives, and individuals lost during the conflict, causing Biden to express regret for his earlier comments.
“I’m sorry. I’m disappointed in myself,” Biden told the group, according to the Washington Post.
Following the meeting, President Biden issued a round of hugs to the Muslim American leaders.
According to the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health, more than 14,000 Palestinians have died since the October 7th attack that killed more than 1,400 Israelis and left scores of others as hostages. A fragile four-day pause in fighting which began last week has resulted in at least three rounds of hostages being released, though the breakthrough has required Israel to release some well-known Palestinian agitators including one woman who attempted to conduct a suicide bombing in 2015.
President Biden has largely supported Israel’s mission to root out Hamas terrorists in Gaza though has come under increasing pressure within his own party to call for a ceasefire and apply greater pressure to Israel to reduce civilian casualties. A number of high-profile Palestinian advocates in Congress, including Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MN) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN), have gone so far as to refuse to denounce Hamas’s initial attack or repeated antisemitic phrases with a call for the elimination of Israel. Tlaib was censured by Congress earlier this week for some of her past remarks, but that hasn’t stopped her from threatening to withhold her support for Biden’s reelection.