The White House doubled down on hosting a party for ‘non-political’ White House staff on Sunday as war raged in Israel following Hamas’ surprise attacks on the nation.
‘President Biden has been consistently engaged in supporting Israel as they defend themselves against these brutal terrorist attacks,’ a White House official told Fox News Digital on Monday.
‘Yesterday, after another call with Prime Minister Netanyahu and ordering the American military to provide aid to the [Israel Defense Forces] to ensure they have what they need, the President held a long-scheduled event to thank the hardworking non-political staff who keep the White House running – operating the kitchens, cleaning the White House, and helping keep the complex safe.’
The White House’s response comes after conservative critics on social media erupted that President Biden was enjoying live music at the White House while war raged in Israel and Americans were likely taken hostage and killed by Hamas terrorists.
‘While Hamas holds Americans hostage, Joe Biden is enjoying a picnic with a live band,’ Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley tweeted Sunday evening, accompanied by a screenshot of a White House pool report.
The pool report, emailed just after 6 p.m. Sunday, notes that a reporter could hear a ‘live band’ at the White House.
‘In the late afternoon and early evening, a live band could be heard coming from the area near the Rose Garden. Your pooler asked why a band was playing. From the White House: The President and First Lady are hosting a BBQ for White House Executive Residence Staff and their families,’ the pool reporter wrote.
Fox News Digital reached out to the White House Sunday evening regarding the event and received comment on the matter Monday.
‘This date was chosen because there were not White House activities that would require their work and they could bring their families. They deserve recognition, and no small, petty comments from partisan media or elected officials change that,’ the White House official said in the statement.
Israel was thrown into chaos Saturday when Hamas terrorists launched surprise attacks on the nation. At least 800 people in Israel have been killed, and more than 2,000 injured.
The Israeli government officially declared war on Sunday, the first time the nation has made such a declaration since the Yom Kippur War of 1973.
U.S. officials confirmed that at least 11 Americans have been killed amid the attacks.
‘We extend our deepest condolences to the victims and to the families of all those affected,’ a spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Israel told Fox News.
‘We continue to monitor the situation closely and remain in touch with our Israeli partners and the local authorities,’ the spokesperson added. ‘We are in touch with the families and providing all appropriate consular assistance.’