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Budd, Ernst Publish Op-ed Marking 100 Days of Americans Held Hostage

Jan 15, 2024 | News, Op-Eds, Supporting Our Troops

Washington, D.C. — Senators Ted Budd (R-NC) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) have written an opinion piece for Fox News marking the 100th day of captivity for American hostages held by Hamas terrorists in Gaza.

The piece calls out President Biden’s weakness, which precipitated the crisis, and provided new details on the senators’ CODEL to the Middle East earlier this month.

Read the full op-ed here or below:

Biden’s weak leadership has kept Americans hostage for 100 days

By Sens. Ted Budd & Joni Ernst

Published January 15, 2024 2:36pm EST

President Biden’s weak leadership has allowed American citizens to be held hostage by Iran-backed terrorists for 100 days.

October 7th was a physical attack on Israel, but it should be considered an attack on America as well. This assault was one of the largest losses of American lives from terrorism since 9/11 – totaling approximately 32 unforgettable deaths – and 100 days later, Hamas is still holding six Americans captive.

Since President Biden won’t step up, we are.

Earlier this month, we led a bipartisan, bicameral delegation to four countries in the Middle East, solely focused on retrieving our American hostages from Iran-backed Hamas. During our time in Israel, we witnessed firsthand the impact of Hamas’ brutality while visiting Kibbutz Nir Oz. 

As we were guided through the wreckage by a gentleman who once called this his home, and whose son was taken hostage, we were struck by how eerily calm it was to stand in such a beautiful oasis surrounded by shattered glass, furniture overturned, fire-blackened walls and kids’ toys and stuffed animals carelessly scattered about.

In this community of peace-lovers, Hamas burned down homes, terrorized children, killed the innocent, put bullets into bedrooms, and violated the very foundation of peace that the Kibbutz stands for.

Armed with the heart-wrenching stories from each of the hostage families, the delegation traveled to Egypt, Israel, Qatar, and Bahrain to meet with senior government leaders and hostage negotiators to ask that they do everything in their power to bring our hostages home. In our meetings with senior leaders and hostage negotiators in these countries, we delivered our strong message, backed by our entire bipartisan, bicameral delegation.

And we will continue encouraging our partners in the region to put pressure on Hamas to bring them back to the negotiating table and release our citizens immediately. This message must reach Hamas loud and clear – all the way to its brutal Iranian backers.

Spending time with the hostage families, who are in anguish over not knowing the status of their loved ones, we heard their cries for answers. While we can’t begin to understand the totality of their pain, it is clear they are desperately looking for action from President Biden and his team.

As we solemnly mark 100 days of captivity, the lack of action by this administration is unacceptable. There should be no greater priority than bringing home our American hostages — safely and quickly. Every second counts.  

Our fellow Americans are being used as human shields without consistent access to food, water, medical treatment, or sleep. Almost 100 days in, none of the families even know if their loved ones are still alive.

We urgently call on this administration to step up and use its full diplomatic leverage and energy to secure the lives of the remaining hostages. The fight being waged by Iran-backed Hamas is a battle of good vs. evil.

As long as Americans remain captive to these barbaric thugs, the latter is the victor. Allowing Americans to suffer under the yoke of terrorists is a win for evil around the world and a boon for Iran’s proxies.

Every day our hostages are not home is a failure. One hundred days is 100 days too long.

We have been holding our partners’ feet to the fire to reunite families. The Biden administration must do more and follow our lead by bringing its full diplomatic leverage and energy to this issue. American lives are still very much at risk.

As these hostage families call out for the strength of America to reunite them with their loved ones, there should be only one response: bring Americans home now.


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