“The president’s unwillingness to meet with Benjamin Netanyahu when he is in New York, but instead willing to go on “The View” in New York — I mean, I think it speaks volumes to the lack of seriousness with which this president is taking the current situation,” said Cantor, who is Jewish, on a call with reporters.
The call was held on behalf of the Romney campaign in response to Obama stating the U.S. embassy attacks were “bumps in the road” during a CBS “60 Minutes”interview on Sunday night. Cantor called the president’s refusal to meet with heads of state in New York “a lack of willingness to lead in times of trouble.”
Cantor also stressed that most Americans believe Israel to be the closest ally of the U.S. – not just one of the closest allies, as Obama said on “60 Minutes.”
“So for President Obama to indicate somehow that Israel was on par with other allies in the region struck me as very, very concerning,” Cantor said. The House Majority Leader also said Israel was facing an “existential threat” from Iran, in regards to its developing nuclear program, and that the President should stand up to assist those fighting for freedom in the Middle East.
Earlier Monday, during a White House press briefing, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney dismissed the allegations that President Obama was referring to the embassy attacks when he made his “bump in the road” comment. Carney called that suggestion “desperate and offensive.”
“The president was referring to the transformations in the region, to this process that has — only began less than two years ago, as we saw in Tunisia, and continues to this day, with remarkable transformations occurring in countries around the region,” Carney said in response to a question. Carney added that the attention paid to Obama’s comment was a “desperate attempt to grasp at words and phrases here to find political advantage.”
The Obama administration official also said Obama would not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon, and asserted that the President’s stance on Israel as an ally has not changed. He said Obama will use his United Nations General Assembly address tomorrow to reaffirm U.S. involvement in the Middle East.
“I think you’ve heard the President say numerous times that Israel is our closest ally in the region,” Carney said. “We have an unshakeable bond with Israel.”
Yet, Cantor saw Obama’s recent remarks as a continuation of his negative campaign against Israel. “[It’s] very, very concerning about the President’s attitude toward Israel given his past remarks that began during the initial days or initial months of his presidency where Israel continues to find itself on the receiving end of harsh language by the president and the White House,” Cantor said, noting that Romney called it throwing Israel under the bus.