Stefanik to Denounce Biden, and Praise Trump, in Speech to Israel’s Parliament

Stefanik to Denounce Biden, and Praise Trump, in Speech to Israel’s Parliament

Representative Elise Stefanik of New York will be the highest-ranking House Republican to address the Israeli Parliament since the Oct. 7 terrorist attack with a speech on Sunday that is expected to deliver a forceful rebuke of President Biden and his fellow Democrats while presenting her party as the true allies of the Jewish state.

Ms. Stefanik’s speech comes as the Biden White House is urging Israel to end the war in Gaza, and it builds on the Republican political strategy to capitalize on Democratic divisions over Israel’s response to the terrorist attacks.

That strategy, which has played out in Congress for the past six months, has included a largely symbolic House vote on Thursday aimed at rebuking Mr. Biden for pausing an arms shipment to Israel and compelling his administration to deliver those weapons quickly.

Mr. Biden recently put a hold on military aid out of concern that Israel would use the weapons on Rafah, a crowded city in southern Gaza. The administration has also told Congress that it plans to sell more than $1 billion in new weapons to Israel.

“I have been clear at home, and I will be clear here,” Ms. Stefanik is expected to say in her speech, according to a prepared version of her remarks reviewed by The New York Times. “There is no excuse for an American president to block aid to Israel.”

Her remarks also appear designed to curry favor with former President Donald J. Trump, who has mentioned Ms. Stefanik, a former George W. Bush White House aide and staunch defender of Mr. Trump, as a potential vice-presidential candidate.

While a time-honored adage of American politics has held that partisanship ends at the water’s edge, Ms. Stefanik’s remarks may help strengthen her bona fides with the former president by paying little mind to the principle and decorum behind that unwritten rule.

Ms. Stefanik has positioned herself as one of Mr. Trump’s most loyal defenders in Congress, a role she first staked out during his first impeachment in 2019. Her prepared remarks for Sunday mention Mr. Trump by name three times while highlighting several of his administration’s accomplishments, including a package of Middle East deals known as the Abraham Accords and moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

“We must not let the extremism in elite corners conceal the deep, abiding love for Israel among the American people,” Ms. Stefanik plans to say. “Americans feel a strong connection to your people. They have opened their hearts to you in this dark hour.”

In addition to her remarks at Jerusalem Hall in the Knesset, Ms. Stefanik will meet with Israeli officials, visit religious sites and tour locations targeted in the Oct. 7 attacks.

Ms. Stefanik has played a high-profile role in the congressional investigations into antisemitism on college campuses. Her questioning of the Harvard and University of Pennsylvania presidents ultimately lead to their resignations, delivering to Ms. Stefanik her biggest star turn this Congress.

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