Representative Cory Mills, a Florida Republican, criticized the Biden administration on Sunday for its ineffectiveness after the congressman saved 96 American citizens in Israel, saying that President Joe Biden had “no plan.”
Mills and his team flew to Israel and rescued the stranded Americans this past week, with Michigan Representative Bill Huizenga’s son among those who were saved. Biden vowed to help American citizens who were taken hostage by Hamas after they attacked Israel. The White House on Sunday told Newsweek in an email that the State Department has been operating charter flights out of Israel for Americans who want to leave.
On October 7, Hamas led the deadliest Palestinian militant attack on Israel in history. Israel subsequently launched its heaviest ever airstrikes on Gaza. The Gaza Health Ministry said 2,329 Palestinians have been killed since the fighting erupted, according to The Associated Press. More than 1,300 Israelis have been killed, the agency said. Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said his country is “at war” and has cut off supplies of food, fuel, electricity and medicine into Gaza.
“I knew that they had no plan, no strategy, that they were gonna leave Americans behind, but I had to put the pressure on them, and that’s why it was such a big deal to go over there,” Mills said during an interview on Fox News. “It’s really forced the hand of the White House to start stepping up. As I said multiple times, if Biden was unable and unwilling to do his job, then I’m gonna step up and do it for him.”
Mills, who is an Iraq war veteran and currently serves on the House Committee on Armed Services, said that Americans were trapped for days, unable to find a flight home and running out of resources in Israel.
“A lot of them had lost hope. They had no idea how they were getting out of there,” Mills said. “Some of them had looked at ‘How am I gonna continue to even pay for a hotel? I don’t have the fees.’ Most of them had flights that had been cancelled over and over and over again.”
Biden has yet to address the rescue mission. The latest update from the White House on American citizens in Israel was on October 9, when the president said that “the safety of American citizens—whether at home or abroad—is my top priority as president.”
“For American citizens who are currently in Israel, the State Department is providing consular assistance as well as updated security alerts. For those who desire to leave, commercial flights and ground options are still available. Please also take sensible precautions in the days ahead and follow the guidance of local authorities,” Biden added.
It is still unclear if there are more Americans trapped in Israel or how many were taken hostage by Hamas.