Joe Biden has taken credit for the release of some hostages by Hamas, but Republican critics like Tom Cotton (Ak.) are not impressed.
It was Biden's "weakness" that emboldened Hamas to attack Israel and take captives in the first place, Cotton told Fox News Sunday.
Hamas began releasing some hostages this weekend, including a four-year-old American girl with dual Israeli citizenship, after Biden helped negotiate a short cease-fire.
Many Israel supporters have worried that Biden's cease-fire will help Hamas regroup and slow down Israel's effort to destroy the terror group, which launched a brutal attack on Israel on October 7th.
Cotton said he would not "second-guess" Israel's decision to pause fighting, but he laid blame with Biden for undermining Israel's war effort, citing Biden's push to supply Gaza - which Hamas controls - with fuel.
“It seems like President Biden puts more pressure on Israel than he does on Hamas," he said.
"Part of the reasons why we got to this point where we had to have a four-day pause is that the Biden administration has consistently, behind the scenes, insisted that Israel’s government take steps that are clearly not in Israel’s interests," Cotton said.
Cotton cited the release of several Thai nationals and the relative lack of Americans among those freed as evidence of Hamas' "contempt" for American leadership under Biden.
He also pointed to dozens of missile attacks on American troops in the region by Iranian proxies as proof of Biden's "weakness."
Despite a surge of American forces in the region, Hamas "is still so contemptuous of President Biden that it hasn’t yet released American hostages," Cotton said.
"This would have never happened under Donald Trump or Ronald Reagan," he said.
After the October 7 attack, many Republicans blamed Biden's foreign policy toward Iran, saying it had emboldened Hamas, an Iranian proxy.
Cotton dismissed concerns about escalation in the region, saying America would be safer if Biden more aggressively targeted Iran.
"Life in the Middle East is not a church picnic. What you need more than anything is iron will and crushing force. And what I fear most threatens American interests and stability in the region is American weakness," he said.
Cotton said America should not rule out sending in American special forces to rescue American hostages.