In a 90-minute speech in New Hampshire on Monday, former President Donald Trump barely mentioned the ongoing Israel-Hamas war where hundreds lay dead on both sides and 11 Americans have been killed as the conflict approached the three-day mark.

In all, even as he used the war to re-up his call for a travel ban on Muslim-majority countries, Trump spent less than ten minutes of his speech discussing the conflict.

What You Need To Know

  • Trump spent less than ten minutes of his speech discussing the conflict. His first mention of the war came in passing about ten minutes into his remarks in the early primary state, where he is seeking to shore up his 30-point polling lead
  • About an hour in, he began discussing the war in detail for the first time
  • He used the war to re-up his call for a travel ban on Muslim-majority countries

His first mention of the war came in passing about ten minutes into his remarks in the early primary state, where he is seeking to shore up his 30-point polling lead. The 2024 GOP presidential frontrunner baselessly insisted Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist organization that led a surprise attack on Israel’s southern border on Saturday, was sending militants to illegally enter the U.S. through the country’s own southern border. 

“We have no idea from where they come, the same people in many cases, the same people that just attacked Israel, you know that right?” Trump asked the crowd at an arts center in Wolfeboro, N.H., before arguing the war would have been avoided if he was still president. “That would have never happened. The attack on Israel would never ever have happened. The attack on Ukraine would never have happened. Inflation would never have happened. None of it would have happened.”

It would be another 50 minutes before Trump discussed the war again. In the interim, he would mention China and Russia more than a dozen times each, Saudi Arabia five times, Ukraine four times, and other European countries and Europe broadly nine times. He never mentioned the nine American deaths in the conflict that the White House confirmed earlier on Monday.

“When I was commander in chief, we reduced the Iranian economy and I withdrew from the disastrous Iran nuclear deal, imposed the toughest-ever sanctions on the regime and imposed a strict travel ban to keep radical Islamic terrorists the hell out of our country. Now they're pouring into our country. They're pouring into our country,” Trump said, without evidence. “Joe Biden, undid it. He undid it all and gave billions and billions of dollars to the world's top sponsor of terror, tossing Israel to the bloodthirsty terrorists and jihadists.”

There is no evidence jihadist terrorists, or terrorists of any international origin, are entering the U.S. at any discernible rate. Despite Trump claiming the U.S. has allowed “tens of thousands of probable terrorists into our country,” the last incidence of jihadist terrorism on U.S. soil was during Trump’s administration in 2019, when a Saudi Air Force officer training at a U.S. naval base in Pensacola, Fla., shot and killed three American sailors and wounded eight others, according to a database maintained by left-of-center think tank New America.

“I went four years without a problem, four years because I had a travel ban and the Islamic terrorists weren't allowed,” Trump said. “It was very tough for them. I had a very strong travel ban.”

Trump’s “Muslim ban,” as he described it during the 2016 campaign, was a series of executive actions over the course of his administration that largely banned travel to the U.S. by people from many majority-Muslim countries and other nations deemed undesirable like Venezuela and North Korea. 

He has mentioned his plan to reinstate the policy on the 2024 campaign trail before, but he did not spend much time discussing it on Monday.

As for the billions of dollars Trump accused Biden of delivering to Iran, who historically have provided financial backing and support to Hamas, the Biden administration has vehemently denied any of the $6 billion in question has yet to be spent, much less used to fund Hamas. The Iranian oil money was held up in South Korean bank accounts by U.S. sanctions and unfrozen as part of a deal that freed five American citizens from detention in Iran. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday the money had not yet left a Qatari bank account where they are earmarked for humanitarian purposes and monitored by U.S. Treasury Department authorities, according to the State Department.

When he returned to Israel late in his speech, the former president spent much of the time comparing the war to the flow of migrants on the United States’ southern border, blaming Biden for the conflict and swearing it would not have happened on his watch, and wondering out loud why any American Jew or evangelical Christian would vote for a Democrat when the party, in his view, “betrayed Israel.”

“I can't imagine how anybody who's Jewish or anybody who loves Israel, and frankly, the evangelicals love, just love Israel -- I can't imagine anybody voting Democrat, let alone for this person,” Trump said. “This man who’s totally, he was shot 30 years ago. He's more shot now. But the problem was all caused by crooked Joe Biden”

Trump has repeatedly expressed anger at American Jews for a perceived lack of loyalty to and support for him.

One possible explanation for Trump’s meandering speech and lack of focus on the global crisis of the day was that the teleprompter was broken for large swaths of the 77-year-old's speech.

“It's great to be with you and it's really been something very special this whole endeavor. You know what we've all been through and our country has been through a lot. And even today, there's no teleprompter working. It's nice,” Trump said in the first moments of his speech. “This has happened oftentimes. This happens to Biden, it’s big trouble. If it happens to me, we get through it. We just get through it.”