Biden ‘feels about the way I feel’ that Benjamin Netanyahu’s ‘leadership is not good for Israel’

February 18, 2024
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Rep. Jim Clyburn said Sunday that President Joe Biden “feels about the way I feel” that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “leadership is not good for Israel.”

“I’ve talked to the president about this. And, of course, he is not going to be public with everything he says to Netanyahu,” Clyburn, D-S.C., told CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “But I know this. He feels about the way I feel when it comes to Netanyahu. He is — his leadership has not been good for Israel.”

“We stand firmly with the people of Israel, but I’ve always had a real problem with Netanyahu, and that continues to be today,” Clyburn added.

Moments after he indicated that Biden feels the same way he does about Netanyahu, Clyburn sought to walk back the comments, saying he hadn’t asked the president whether he agreed with him.

“He’s accepted my assessment [of Netanyahu]. I have not asked him whether or not he agrees with me. In fact, I just let them know, ‘This is the way I feel. I’m not running the country. You do what you feel is in the best interest of the country,’” Clyburn said Sunday.

The White House did not immediately respond to NBC News’ request for comment.

Netanyahu speaks during the weekly cabinet meeting.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu heads the weekly Cabinet meeting in Tel Aviv on Jan. 7, 2024.Ronen Zvulub / AFP – Getty Images pool file

His comments come on the heels of widespread reporting that Biden is growing increasingly frustrated with Netanyahu and his handling of the war between Israel and Hamas.

Biden has gone as far as to call Netanyahu an “asshole” in private, according to three people directly familiar with his comments. The president has also called Netanyahu a “bad f—ing guy,” Politico reported.

Publicly, Biden has not condemned the Israeli prime minister as firmly as he has in private.

But at a press conference at the White House earlier this month, he called Israeli’s military operations in Gaza “over the top.”

“A lot of innocent people are starving. A lot of innocent people are in trouble and they’re dying. And it’s got to stop,” Biden added at that press conference.

Netanyahu said he was unsure how to interpret that criticism.

“I don’t know exactly what he meant by that,” Netanyahu said, before going on to stress that Israel experienced an “unprovoked, murderous” terror attack on Oct. 7 by Hamas.

Those comments were widely seen as the president’s strongest rebuke of Israel and Netanyahu yet.

Clyburn has publicly condemned Netanyahu before. In January, he told The Washington Post, “I have never been a fan of Netanyahu and I don’t think he’s good for Israel. I don’t think he’s good for the world,” but he didn’t link the president’s thinking with his own.



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