President Joe Biden participates in a roundtable discussion with Jewish community leaders in the East Wing of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Wednesday, October 11, in the Indian Treaty Room in Washington, DC.
President Joe Biden Graphics The description of the horrors in Israel is intended The White House says it “underlines the absolute depravity” of Hamas attacks on civilians, even though it has not personally seen or confirmed the images it described.
Biden spoke Wednesday from the Indian Chamber of Commerce told a gathering of Jewish leaders: “I’ve been doing this for a long time. I never thought I’d see pictures of terrorists cutting off the heads of children and confirm it.
That evening, an administration official told CNN that neither Biden nor the administration had seen any images or confirmed reports of children or children being beheaded by Hamas. The official clarified that the president’s comments refer to the public opinion of the media and Israeli officials. Since taking office, Biden has gone off-script on several occasions to make comments that require clarification by his staff, including on Taiwan and Russia.
A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier Wednesday that babies and children had been found “with severed heads” in Tal Heinrich’s Kfar Azza. CNN could not independently verify the report, and Hamas said media reports about the attacks on children were false.
On Thursday, Netanyahu showed gruesome photos of children whose bodies had been burned beyond recognition and the blood-stained body of a third child to US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who was visiting Israel.
During a press conference, Blinken became emotional after seeing images of victims of Hamas attacks that “almost defy comprehension.”
“A child, a child pierced by bullets. Soldiers were beheaded. Young people burned alive in their cars or in their hideouts,” Blinken said.
“It’s beyond what anyone wants to imagine, actually see, God forbid, experience,” he said.
Speaking to reporters at the White House later Thursday, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby cited the photos while explaining Biden’s comments a day earlier.
“Certainly the president’s comments yesterday … underscore the barbarity and barbarism with which these terrorists have murdered and maimed innocent Israeli citizens,” he said.
“That further underscores why — and this is what the president specifically said yesterday — we must stand with Israel. We must continue to assure them of the support they need,” he continued.
Pressing further on the importance of maintaining factual accuracy when describing events on the ground, Kirby said the White House takes seriously “the need to be as truthful as we can and certainly be truthful.”
But the reality, he said, is that the full extent of Hamas’s depravity is still being revealed.
“We all have to be prepared for the fact that more gruesome images are going to come out and there are going to be some tough reports for all of us to swallow. This is not over,” he said.