President Biden hosted a tone-deaf barbecue at the White House as Hamas launched its brutal invasion of Israel - bringing the worst violence the country has seen in half a century.
The weekend barbecue is being blasted as the latest example of Biden's neglectful and inadequate leadership.
The White House event featured a live band, Missouri senator Josh Hawley (R) said, drawing attention to the president's insensitivity.
"While Hamas holds Americans hostage, Joe Biden is enjoying a picnic with a live band," Hawley wrote.
The world has been watching in horror as Hamas members kidnap and kill Israelis - and some American citizens - with the death toll rising to over 1,000 since the fighting began Saturday morning.
President Biden's failure to quickly condemn the invasion was widely criticized as an example of his morally conflicted leadership, especially after his administration unfroze $6 billion in Iranian assets. However, the White House has dismissed criticism as "small and petty."
"President Biden has been consistently engaged in supporting Israel as they defend themselves against these brutal terrorist attacks," a White House official told Newsweek.
"This date was chosen because there were not White House activities that would require their work and they could bring their families," he said. "They deserve recognition, and no small, petty comments from partisan media or elected officials change that."
Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (Ca.) - who is angling to get his job back as pressure builds for more unified leadership in Washington - also condemned Biden's response to the situation in Israel.
"Turn off the barbecue and speak to the American people," McCarthy said. "Be the leader the world is looking for."
Biden, 80, has often been criticized as absent and aloof during moments of crisis. His messy withdrawal from Afghanistan - which he hailed as a triumph - cost 13 American soldiers their lives.
He confirmed Tuesday that Americans were in captivity in Israel as he condemned the "sheer evil" of Hamas.
Biden sought to balance that condemnation with an affirmation of Palestine's "right to dignity and self-determination."
"Our hearts may be broken but our resolve is clear,” Biden said. “Let there be no doubt. The United States has Israel’s back. We’ll make sure the Jewish and democratic state of Israel can defend itself today, tomorrow as we always have.”