Click here or on the image above to watch Senator Capito’s floor speech.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Yesterday, U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Vice Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, delivered remarks on the Senate Floor in support of Israel and its right to self-defense following the terrorist attacks perpetrated by Hamas on October 7, 2023.

During her remarks, Senator Capito discussed Iran’s role in the escalating violence in the Middle East, the Biden administration’s failure to establish deterrence in the region, and called for American leadership in support of our allies in Israel.

Senator Capito’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, are included below:

“Mr/Madam President—

“I rise today to once again stand in strong support of our friend and ally, Israel, and to highlight the continued fallout that we are witnessing as a result of the October 7th terrorist attacks perpetrated by Hamas.

“It is difficult to describe the past 116 days as anything other than shocking, as we have seen the senseless murder of over 1,200 people in Israel, widespread violence across the Middle East, and an alarming rise in anti-Semitism here at home. 

“Just this past weekend, on January 27th, we recognized International Holocaust Remembrance Day and honored the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust. The largest genocide in human history, with unspeakable horror inflicted on the Jewish people.

“This commemoration serves as a reminder of why the state of Israel must exist and our continued commitment to stand against the persecution of the Jewish people. But now, nearly eighty years later, the safety of the Jewish people is once again under siege.

“The terrorist attacks on October 7th killed the most Jews in one day since the Holocaust. Hundreds of women and children were taken hostage – including Americans that still remain in captivity today. And shamefully, some of the most prominent organizations that claim to support women were silent when it came to Hamas’s use of sexual violence against women and girls on October 7th.

“We must continue to universally denounce the barbaric tactics of Hamas and do all that is within our power to free the hostages and bring our Americans home.

“It remains clear that Israel has the right to defend themselves as any country would in the face of this unprovoked terror. There isn’t another country in the world that would be expected to sit back and allow its next door neighbor, whose own charter calls for genocide, to commit this kind of brazen and indiscriminate violence.

“To this day, Hamas continues to fire rockets at Israel, target their civilians, and hold women and children hostage. And in violation of international law, Hamas continues to use protected, civilian structures for its operations, endangering its own people.

“There is no question that our world has dramatically shifted following October 7th, as we can clearly see that Israel’s security is directly related to our own national security here in America.

“Unfortunately, since the beginning of the attacks on Israel, President Biden has not displayed the strength needed from our nation at this critical juncture. His administration, beginning on October 7th, made their fears of an escalating conflict crystal clear.

“Secretary Blinken said on October 22nd that ‘this is not what we want, we don't want escalation.’ This widely broadcasted fear of escalation prevented them from taking action to stop this violence from spreading beyond Israel’s borders.

“Now, the Iran-backed Houthis have launched hundreds of drone and missile strikes against ships transiting the Red Sea –one of the most important waterways in the world. We have conducted multiple airstrikes in Yemen with no clear indication that the Houthis have been deterred, and we have lost two Navy Seals, some of our most elite special-operators, who made the ultimate sacrifice while halting the shipment of more advanced weapons to this group.

“Adding to this, there has been a staggering increase in attacks by Iranian proxies on our troops and bases in the region. There have been more than 165 attacks on our men and women in uniform in the Middle East since October 7th, with minimal response from the administration.

“This has led to the loss of three of our U.S. Army soldiers, three heroic Americans, in one of these attacks with dozens more wounded.

“Less than three weeks ago on January 12th, when asked if he had a message for Iran, President Biden said ‘I’ve already delivered the message to Iran, they know not to do anything.’ That message was clearly not delivered, and has put our nation and service-members in an unacceptable situation.

“What does all of this aggression in the Red Sea and these attacks on our forces have in common? It’s all funded and supplied by Iran. For far too long, this nefarious nation has been pulling strings behind the scenes that are inciting terror and creating chaos across the Middle East.

“The Iranian regime stands in direct opposition of what America represents and our values. Their hatred for America is made more obvious by the company that they keep and the continued closeness they are cultivating with adversaries like Russia, China, and North Korea.

“China is Iran’s biggest oil customer and provides a revenue stream to support Iran’s aggression. Russia continues to purchase Iranian drones, using them in their own unjust war against Ukraine. And North Korea has remained Iran’s leading partner in destabilizing actions and nuclear proliferation.

“Iran’s malign influence and its disdain for America and our ally Israel is unmistakable. It is past time to reestablish deterrence against Iran, with a decisive response to these unacceptable actions.

“This is something that my Republican colleagues recognize and something we continue to urge President Biden and his administration to take seriously. Secretary Blinken said so himself just this week: the Middle East hasn’t been this dangerous since at least 1973.

“This comes, of course, after President Biden’s National Security Advisor announced the region was ‘quieter than it has been for decades’ in the days leading up to October 7th.

“We can all now see that this is an increasingly important moment, with incredibly high stakes. We must take this opportunity to lead with strength, to lead in ways that only the United States can. While our adversaries attempt to divide us, we must come together.

“The future of our nation depends on our ability to support allies like Israel in their time of need, protect vital American interests, to defend our troops overseas, and to secure the homeland of our country. 

“I encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to remain committed to the security of the United States and our ally Israel. This chamber must display the American leadership that times of crisis require. We have done it before and we must do it now.

“With that, I yield the floor.”

# # #