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WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today spoke at the Senate Republican leadership press conference in strong support of Israel’s right to defend itself from heinous terrorist attacks. Earlier today, Thune spoke at a press conference led by Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) where Republican senators highlighted Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism in Israel and called for passage of legislation to freeze $6 billion in Iranian assets the Biden administration attempted to provide Iran last month.
On standing in solidarity with Israel:
“Let me just say that all of us are heartbroken and disgusted, really, by the atrocities committed by Hamas against Israel.
“There are some in this country, and you see it more on our college and university campuses, who don’t seem to see this issue with moral clarity. But it really is an example of unspeakable evil committed against innocent civilians, innocent children.
“And I can say that the Republican Conference stands in solidarity with Israel and its right not only to exist, but also to defend itself and to protect its citizens from these types of attacks.
“Right now, the administration’s focus should be on getting Americans home, working on trying to free up some of the hostages that’re still held in Gaza, and I hope that will be first and foremost what they work on.”
On the need to secure America’s southern border for the sake of national security:
“Let me just say, too, that as you think about this issue and the issue of national security, the director of the FBI warned just recently that there could be copycat attacks here in the United States.
“And that really bears on one of the issues that the leader mentioned with respect to whatever package emerges from the Congress and is put forward by the White House, that we deal with the issue of our southern border.
“And if you look at just in the last two years, they have a category called ‘special interest aliens,’ and in that category, there have been 659 Iranians that they have apprehended trying to come across our southern border. And in this last year, there have been 151 people on the terrorist watch list who have been apprehended at our southern border, which is more than the last six years – six years – combined.“This is a national security issue and it demands attention from this administration. And so I hope that, as we anticipate, contemplate, dealing with a package up here that addresses the needs in Israel and Ukraine and Taiwan and other places in the world, that that focuses clearly on the national security challenges that we have here right at home, in the United States. And that is a porous southern border that this administration has ignored since the time it took office.”