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President Joe Biden faced backlash on Sunday over remarks that he made in response to the hostage situation that unfolded on Saturday at a synagogue in Colleyville, Texas.
Biden's remarks came after a suspect took several Jews hostage at Congregation Beth Israel synagogue and demanded the release of a convicted terrorist. The suspect was later killed and the hostages were freed, unharmed.
Biden spoke to reporters briefly about the matter on Sunday and was asked if he knew why the suspect targeted the synagogue.
"Well, no, I don't,"
Biden said. "We don't have - I don't think there is sufficient information to know about why he targeted that synagogue or why he insisted on the release of someone who's been in prison for over 10 years, why he was engaged - why he was using antisemitic and anti-Israeli comments. I, I - we just don't have enough facts."
Notable responses to Biden's remarks included:
- Dave Reaboi, political commentator: "We don't know why he wanted the release of Lady Al Qaeda terrorist, huh? Ask CAIR, because they've spent the last year doing the same."
- Chris Stigall, radio host: "This is a real quote. I actually thought it was sarcasm by @TPostMillennial . Nope, actual quote."
- Gerry Callahan, radio host: "If you are in favor of voter ID, you are Bull Connor, Jefferson Davis, George Wallace. It is Jim Crow 2.0. If you take Jews hostage in a synagogue and demand the release of a Muslim terrorist, Joe is gonna withhold judgment. He just doesn't have enough facts."
- Foster, political commentator: "This is so effed up. And it's worth noting even on pure cynical political grounds that you can still demagogue on right wing domestic terrorism **without** pretending that stuff like this doesn't exist."
- Donald Trump Jr.: "Don't worry Brandon everyone with an IQ above 6 knows exactly why, but it surprises no one that you don't!"
- Noah Pollak, political commentator: "If you oppose Biden's legislative agenda you're a racist but if you take a synagogue hostage on shabbat while screaming anti-Semitic jihadist slogans Biden isn't sure what to call you."
- Mike Petchenik, commentator: "I'll solve that mystery for you: He's a radical anti-Semite. That's why. Amazing how we tiptoe around the truth."
FULL TRANSCRIPT PROVIDED VIA THE WHITE HOUSE:
THE PRESIDENT: Hey, folks. With regard to Texas and the synagogue, I spoke this morning with the Attorney General and - to get a rundown. He said there's overwhelming cooperation with the local authorities and the FBI, and they did one hell of a job.
This was an act of terror. This was an act of terror. And it not only was related to someone who had been arrested, I might add, 15 years ago and been in jail for 10 years - the idea that it was something new.
And they did just a great job.
I also told him that I wanted to make sure we got the word out to synagogues and places of worship that we're not going to tolerate this, that we have this capacity to deal with the assaults on particularly the antisemitism that has grown up.
And so - and I'll be talking with - I put a call into the rabbi. We missed one another on the way up here. And - but they should rest assured that we are focused. We are focused. The Attorney General is focused. I'm making sure that we deal with these kinds of acts.
And thank God - thank God we have such a professional FBI, as well as - the local cooperation, I was told, was incredible. It was seamless. So, I just wanted to let you know that.
Q Mr. President, how could this gentl- - how could this man have gotten weapons? There's reports that he's only been in the country for a couple of -
THE PRESIDENT: Well -
Q - weeks.
THE PRESIDENT: - allegedly - I - we - I don't have all the facts, nor does the Attorney General. But, allegedly, the assertion was he got the weapons on the street. He purchased them when he landed.
And - and it turns out there apparently were no bombs that we know of. That - you know, he said that there are bombs he has as well.
But he - apparently, he spent the first night in a homeless shelter. I don't have all the detail yet, so I'm reluctant to go into more - much more detail.
But - and, allegedly, he purchased it on the street. Now what that means, I don't know. Whether he purchased it from an individual in a homeless shelter or a homeless community, or whether - because that's where he said he was - it's hard to tell. I just don't know.
Q (Inaudible) ramifications for the push to - on - to ensure that guns are not available?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, no - well, it does but it also doesn't. The guns are - we should be - the idea of background checks are critical. But you can't stop something like this if someone is on the street buying something from somebody else on the street. Except that there's too - there's so many guns that have been sold of late; it's just ridiculous.
And it's because of the failure of us to focus as hard as we should and as consistent as we should on gun purchases, gun sales, ghost guns, and a whole range of things that I'm trying to do.
Q Mr. President, do you know more about the motivations of the person?
THE PRESIDENT: No, I don't. I - there's speculation, but I'm not going to get into that. I will - I'm going to have a press conference on Wednesday, and I'll be happy to go into detail of what I know in detail at that time.
Q Do you know why he targeted that specific synagogue, Mr. President?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, no, I don't. We don't have - I don't think there is sufficient information to know about why he targeted that synagogue or why he insisted on the release of someone who's been in prison for over 10 years, why he was engaged - why he was using antisemitic and anti-Israeli comments. I, I - we just don't have enough facts.
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