Trump on war in Gaza: ‘You’ve got to finish the problem’

Former President Donald Trump addresses an audience during a campaign event, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023, in Wolfeboro, N.H. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday said Israel has to “finish the problem” in its war against Hamas in Gaza as Israeli leaders face mounting criticism for their handling of the war.

Trump called into “Fox and Friends” ahead of Super Tuesday voting, and co-host Brian Kilmeade asked the former president whether he was “on board” with the way Israeli forces were handling the war in Gaza.

“You’ve got to finish the problem. You had a horrible invasion. It took place. It would have never happened if I was president, by the way,” Trump said.

“This would have never happened. And for another reason — they wouldn’t have done it to me. I guarantee you that. They did this because they have no respect for Biden and, frankly, they got soft,” Trump added.

Asked specifically about calls from Vice President Kamala Harris for an “immediate” cease-fire that lasts at least six weeks, Trump said he hates “seeing what’s happening” and reiterated his belief there would have been no conflict under his watch.

Trump has previously been evasive when asked about the Israel-Hamas war that broke out after Hamas’s Oct. 7 attacks that left more than 1,000 Israelis dead, frequently pivoting to his steadfast support for Israel during his first term in office. He suggested in an interview with Univision that the fighting would have to play out.

The Biden administration has been adamant that Israel has a right to defend itself, and officials have in recent days said the onus is on Hamas to accept the terms of a six-week cease-fire that would allow for hostages to get out and aid to get into Gaza.

Israel has come under increasing scrutiny as shelling has killed thousands of Palestinian civilians in Gaza and as those in Gaza lack access to food, water, medicine and other supplies. More than 100 Palestinians were killed at a food distribution site in Gaza last week when Israeli troops opened fire.

“The Israeli government must do more to significantly increase the flow of aid. No excuses,” Harris said Sunday in remarks from Selma, Ala. “They must open new border crossings. They must not impose any unnecessary restrictions on the delivery of aid. They must ensure humanitarian personnel, sites, and convoys are not targeted. And they must work to restore basic services and promote order in Gaza so more food, water, and fuel can reach those in need.”

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