Former President Trump Faces Backlash for Praise of Hezbollah: Controversy Intensifies Amid Israel-Hamas Conflict

In a recent post on social media platform X, former President Donald Trump drew criticism for describing the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah as “very smart.”[0] Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is also a 2024 Republican presidential candidate, condemned Trump’s comments, calling them “absurd.”[1] DeSantis argued that it is inappropriate for anyone, especially someone running for president, to praise Hezbollah terrorists and attack Israel, which is a friend and ally of the United States.

The controversy arose during a speech by Trump at a Club 47 event in West Palm Beach, where he blamed President Joe Biden for the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. Trump baselessly claimed that the Biden administration had funded the attacks with $6 billion in oil revenue that was recently unfrozen as a result of a prisoner exchange with Iran.[2] He alleged that Iran, which has historically supported both Hamas and Hezbollah, used the funds to instigate the conflict.[3]

Since Hamas launched its attacks against Israel last weekend, several Republican presidential candidates for 2024 have blamed the Biden administration for the violence. They have asserted, without evidence, that the U.S. funded the attacks as a result of the prisoner exchange deal with Iran.[3] Trump’s remarks praising Hezbollah further intensified the criticism against him.[4]

Hamas launched surprise attacks on Israel on Saturday, firing thousands of rockets from Gaza. In response, Israel declared a state of war, aiming to defeat Hamas and gain complete control of Gaza. The conflict has resulted in numerous casualties on both sides, with over 1,600 people killed by October 10.[0] The attacks by Hamas, designated as a terrorist group by the U.S. and the European Union, have drawn condemnation from the international community.

The White House swiftly responded to Trump’s remarks, with Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates issuing a statement expressing confusion over why anyone would praise an Iran-backed terrorist organization like Hezbollah. Bates emphasized the need to support Israel, especially as it faces one of the worst acts of mass murder in its history.[5] He called for unity against “unadulterated evil.”

Trump’s comments about Hezbollah also prompted criticism from Jamie Harrison, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, who described them as “disgusting, depraved, and dangerous.”[5] The controversy highlights the ongoing political divide in the United States and the differing perspectives on the Israel-Hamas conflict.

In his speech, Trump also criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and accused him of letting the U.S. down in the past.[0] He claimed that Israel took credit for an operation to assassinate Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, despite withdrawing its participation at the last minute. Trump suggested that this story had not been previously revealed and questioned whether it was classified information.[6]

While Trump’s comments about Hezbollah have generated significant backlash, he did not mention the recent vote for speaker of the House, in which his endorsed candidate, Representative Jim Jordan, lost to Steve Scalise.[4] Trump’s speech focused primarily on the Israel-Hamas conflict and his criticisms of the Biden administration’s handling of the situation.

President Biden, meanwhile, has repeatedly emphasized his administration’s support for Israel during the conflict and its efforts to secure the release of American hostages.[0] The White House has pushed back against Republican criticism, asserting that the $6 billion in oil revenue obtained by Iran did not come from U.S. taxpayer dollars.[3]

As the Israel-Hamas conflict continues, Republicans running for president in 2024 are framing it as a test of Biden’s ability to manage international conflicts and protect U.S. interests.[0] The controversy surrounding Trump’s remarks about Hezbollah highlights the differing approaches and perspectives within the political landscape.

0. “‘Netanyahu let us down’: Trump chides Israel just days after attack” POLITICO, 12 Oct. 2023,

1. “Trump Knocks Israel Days after Worst Terror Attack in Country’s History” National Review, 12 Oct. 2023,

2. “Same people who attacked Israel are entering US, says Donald Trump” The Telegraph, 10 Oct. 2023,

3. “Ron DeSantis condemns Trump for calling Hezbollah ‘very smart’ amid Israel-Hamas war” NBC News, 12 Oct. 2023,

4. “Trump blames Biden for war in Israel” WPTV News Channel 5 West Palm, 12 Oct. 2023,

5. “Biden aides slam Trump for calling Hezbollah ‘very smart’” The Hill, 12 Oct. 2023,

6. “Donald Trump Criticizes Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu, Calls Hezbollah ‘Very Smart'” Yahoo! Voices, 12 Oct. 2023,

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