In a blistering attack on Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday, Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley accused him of denying a connection between the Biden administration’s prisoner swap arrangement, which unfroze $6 billion in Iranian assets, and Hamas’ assault on Israel.
“I actually think it was irresponsible for Secretary Blinken to say that the $6 billion doesn’t weigh in here,” Haley told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.
“Let’s be honest with the American people and understand that Hamas knows and Iran knows they’re moving money around as we speak because they know $6 billion will be released.”
Due to international sanctions, the $6 billion originated from Iranian oil revenue has been locked up in South Korean accounts.
Blinken told CNN earlier on Sunday that not a single dollar has been spent from that account, which he stressed was being closely monitored by the US Treasury Department.
US officials agreed to allow Iran to use some money for humanitarian purposes only during the prisoner exchange agreement finalized last month.
While Republicans like Chris Christie (R-NJ) and Ron DeSantis (R-FL) have been vocal in their opposition, they have maintained that the money may be spent anywhere.
“This terrorism is funded by Biden’s idiotic release of $6 billion to the Iranians. The Hamas war against Israel is now the second war started under Biden’s failed presidency,” Christie posted on X.
“This more recent $6 billion — they’re saying this money can’t be used for that. And that may be true, but money’s fungible; they’ve empowered some really, really bad people,” DeSantis told Newsmax.
Haley mirrored many of those sentiments.
“Look at what the Iranian people, the Iranian regime, has done to threaten Israel over the years,” she continued. “They are moving money around to threaten those they hate. They hate Israel. They hate America.”
On Sunday, Blinken told CNN, “We’ve not yet seen evidence that Iran directed the recent onslaught from Hamas, which caught Israeli defense and intelligence forces off-guard.”
He wasn’t the only Biden administration official to dispute GOP criticisms of the $6 billion.
On Saturday, White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates wrote on X, “This is a shameful lie in every respect at a time when both parties should be united in supporting Israel’s defense. Not a cent has been spent.”
It has been speculated that the Biden administration has been working behind the scenes to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, a so-called Iran nuclear deal.
Nikki Haley, former United States Ambassador to the UN, has boasted her international relations expertise during her campaign trail.
She has long portrayed herself as an unwavering supporter of Israel and a ferocious foe of Iran.
“I have been terribly worried about the fact that Iran has said the easiest way to get into America is through the southern border,” Haley said. “We have an open border. People are coming through. They’re not being vetted. We don’t need to wait for another 9/11.”
Shortly after news of Hamas’ rampage unfolded, Haley announced that the attack wasn’t merely directed at Israel but was an attack on America, too.
Blinken emphasized the Biden administration’s support for Israel as the Jewish state launched a counteroffensive to eliminate the Hamas terrorist threat.