BRIEF SUMMARY IF YOU’RE BUSY (FULL ARTICLE BELOW): President Biden faced a moment of physical instability while climbing stairs in Philadelphia, reminiscent of a previous fall during the Air Force Academy commencement exercises. Recovering, he emphasized U.S. support for Israel and condemned Hamas as “pure evil,” comparing them unfavorably to Al Qaeda. The recent Hamas attack in southern Israel resulted in over 1,300 casualties, including 27 Americans dead and 14 missing. Biden assured families of the missing Americans that every effort would be made for their return and pledged continuous collaboration with Israel and regional partners to secure their release. Qatar’s prime minister expressed efforts to help in hostage negotiations, while Hamas threatened to harm hostages in response to Israeli airstrikes.
President Biden stumbled twice Friday while walking up the steps of a stage in Philadelphia — before telling his audience that Al Qaeda terrorists seem “pure” next to those from “evil” Hamas.
The 80-year-old president initially staggered as he began to climb a small set of stairs to the stage, then lurched forward as he threatened to lose his balance completely — recalling a bad spill he took earlier this year during the Air Force Academy commencement exercises.
When Biden regained his footing, he theatrically gripped the railing with both hands and mugged for his audience before making his way to the lectern and giving an unexpected appraisal of the global terror network that carried out the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, killing 2,977 people at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pa.
“These guys make — they make Al Qaeda look pure. They’re pure evil,” Biden said of the Palestinian jihadist organization that rules the Gaza Strip. “As I said from the beginning, the United States, make no mistake about it, stands with Israel.”
Biden made the comment one day after slamming former President Donald Trump for calling Hezbollah terrorists “smart” following diversionary attacks on northern Israel, with the commander-in-chief tweeting Thursday that “the right time to praise the terrorists… is never.”
Hundreds of Hamas terrorists swept into southern Israel from the Gaza Strip on Saturday morning in a stunning surprise attack, butchering more than 1,300 residents of nearby communities, young concert-goers and Israeli troops and abducting to Gaza an estimated 150 others.
At least 27 US citizens died in the rampage and 14 are missing, some of whom are feared to be hostages.
Biden spoke on Friday morning with family members of the missing 14 Americans, a group that includes dual citizens and at least two of whom were serving in Israel’s military.
“This morning I spoke with the family members of all those Americans who are still unaccounted for on a Zoom call for about an hour and 10-15 minutes,” Biden said in Philadelphia.
“They’re going through agony not knowing what the status of their sons, daughters, husbands, wives, children are. You know, it’s gut wrenching. I assured them my personal commitment to do everything possible — everything possible — to return every missing Americans to families.”
“We’re working around the clock to secure the release of Americans held by Hamas, in close cooperation with Israel and our partners around the region,” he added. “And we’re not going to stop until we bring them home.”
Qatar’s prime minister said Friday at a press conference with Secretary of State Antony Blinken that his country, which hosts Hamas’ political leadership, is “doing our best” to secure the release of hostages. Israel’s military said Friday that it already conducted covert searches in Gaza without success.
Hamas has threatened to kill hostages on camera in response to Israeli airstrikes.