Here’s what they had to say…
Following a hostage situation in a Texas synagogue in which four were held hostage, White House national security advisor Jake Sullivan said the hostage situation was an act “act of terrorism” and “anti-Semitism.”
Speaking on CBS News’ “Face of the Nation” on Sunday (January 16), Sullivan said that it was too early to determine “what the full parameters of this act of terrorism, this act of anti-Semitism were” despite comments made by the FBI that there hadn’t been any indication the hostage situation was directed at the Jewish community.
Sullivan continued by pointing out that the “Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and law enforcement and intelligence agencies” were working to uncover the motives and connections of the hostage-taker, adding that he would “leave it to the professionals to continue the work today and as we have more information we will share it.”
He then encouraged people to “take a moment today to pay tribute to the local, state and federal law enforcement officers who acted bravely, professionally and effectively” in rescuing the hostages of the Beth Israel in Colleyville synagogue, lauding the law enforcement officers as “heroes” before saying “we all should also raise our vigilance against acts of terrorism, acts of anti-Semitism, particularly at synagogues and places of worship in this country.”
The ten-hour-long hostage situation concluded on Saturday night with the hostages’ safe removal. However, it was also revealed that the hostage-taker, believed to be a British national, died in a stand-off with police and had demanded Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist serving an 86-year prison sentence in Texas, be released. Siddiqui was convicted in 2010 on charges related to shooting at U.S. military officers while detained in Afghanistan.
In a statement released late on Saturday, President Biden voiced his stance on the hostage situation, vowing to “stand against anti-Semitism and against the rise of extremism in this country. That is who we are, and tonight, the men and women of law enforcement made us all proud.”
Vice President Kamala Harris seconded this in her own statement released on Sunday morning, stating that while more was coming to light about the hostage-taker’s motivations, “we know this: what happened yesterday at Congregation Beth Israel is a reminder that we must speak up and combat antisemitism and hate wherever it exists.”