Sen. Fetterman breaks with President Biden on US response to Iran attacks: 'We should have Israel's back'

Fetterman told Tapper that he would 'never capitulate to the fringe' of his party in responding to the Israel-Hamas conflict

Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., said he didn't agree with President Biden on his stance that the U.S. wouldn't join in an offensive operation against Iran during an interview on Sunday, saying he would never "capitulate to the fringe" of his party.

CNN host Jake Tapper asked Fetterman to respond to reports that Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the U.S. wouldn't participate in any offensive operations against Iran during a conversation on Saturday. 

"Do you think that's the right call or should direct U.S. military action, as some of your colleagues in the Senate are suggesting, should that be on the table?" he asked. 

"I don't agree with that, I just think we should follow and have Israel's back in the situation. I don't agree with the president. That doesn't change anything that he‘s a fantastic president. I‘m proud to stand with him and campaign for him and vote for him," he responded. 

Sen. John Fetterman

Sen. John Fetterman joins CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday, April 14, 2024.  (Screenshot/CNN)

Tapper asked Fetterman to respond to Sen. Marco Rubio, who said the fact that the White House was leaking this information about the Biden-Netanyahu conversation was "offensive" to him because it signaled Biden was trying to "appease the far left in his party." 


"The president is entitled to his own views and whatever he decides to do. But I would never capitulate to the fringe. I'll never pander to that as well. In fact, that empowers Hamas and Hamas, they're actually convinced they're winning the PR war. And they’re never going to negotiate at this point. They think that they’re going to hold onto the very end," Fetterman said. 

"And I know why they’re not willing to provide any kind of proof of life. And I don’t know why there’s not more of that conversation in the media, like what about the hostages? What’s happened to them? Where are they now? And let’s just bring them home. And then all of the harsh words should be directed at Hamas, which started this. And now continues to hold all of over 100 Israeli hostages," he continued. 

Fetterman argued Hamas could end the war today if they released the hostages. 

Joe Biden talking at podium, making a fist

President Joe Biden speaks at Abbotts Creek Community Center during an event to promote his economic agenda in Raleigh, North Carolina, on January 18, 2024.  (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)


As Iran launched a large wave of attack drones and missiles toward Israel on Saturday, the Israeli military was tracking and preparing to intercept the weapons in the first-ever direct attack on Israel by the Islamic Republic, the Times of Israel reported.

Earlier Saturday, Netanyahu said Israel had for weeks "been preparing for the possibility of a direct attack from Iran."

Netanyahu said Israel's "air defenses are deployed, we are ready for any scenario, both in attack and in defense," Fox News Digital reported.

The White House vowed Saturday that the United States' support for Israel's security is "ironclad," pledging to stand with the Jewish state and "support their defense" after Iran launched an aerial drone attack towards the country Saturday afternoon. 

Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convenes the weekly cabinet meeting at the Defence Ministry in Tel Aviv, Israel, January 7, 2024.  (REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/Pool/File Photo)

Fetterman was also asked in the interview if he was worried Trump could win Pennsylvania. The senator said it would be a close race. 

"Trump, of course, he's very popular here. I‘ve been saying that same thing eight years ago in 2016. And I was concerned and now, I’d like to point out that Joe Biden is the only American that ever beat Trump politically. And he’s going to do it again. And he’s going to carry Pennsylvania. And it‘s going to be close," Fetterman said.

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