AOC and Democrats Push Biden to Demand Ceasefire in State of the Union

( – While President Joe Biden gears up to deliver his annual State of the Union address, some of the highest profile Democrats of the Progressive Caucus are putting pressure on the president to demand a ceasefire from Israel in the Gaza Strip amid the Jewish state’s ongoing conflict with Hamas.

Perhaps the most prominent voice calling on the president to devote time in his speech to the issue is Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. In a TIME interview published on Thursday, February 19th, the congresswoman said that she had hoped that a ceasefire would have happened by now, which she added “continues to be” her hope going forward.

Ocasio-Cortez said that considering the ceasefire has yet to be negotiated, she certainly hopes that Biden will “speak to the necessity” of it during the State of the Union.

The president, who initially only backed temporary pauses for humanitarian aid provisions, is now expressing the need for a ceasefire. Biden even promised a ceasefire was only a week away at the end of February, but that promise has yet to materialize. Despite this, Democrats like AOC feel that calls for de-escalating the conflict would be strengthened if the president raised the subject before Congress during the televised speech.

TIME also asked Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas what he thought the president should discuss, and Castro’s answer was similar to Ocasio-Cortez’s. Castro, who is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said that “hopefully” Biden will “press for a ceasefire and a peace agreement” between Israel and Hamas.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts said she would like to see Biden push back against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. She believes all Democrats “need to be pushing hard” against the Israeli government and accused Netanyahu of creating “a monumental humanitarian disaster” by his handling of the conflict. Warren blasted the Israeli prime minister for failing to retrieve all of the hostages and to protect the Israeli people, accusing Netanyahu of “watching out for his own political future” rather than “serving the interests” of the Jewish state.

With about 1,200 dead from Hamas’s October 7th attack and now 30,000 more in Gaza, the war has further destabilized the Middle East, and Biden’s moderate, inconsistent stance is losing him support among his voters.

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