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Republicans Are Silent on Tim Walberg’s Comments That Gaza Should End ‘Like Nagasaki and Hiroshima’

Walberg said his comments were taken out of context, and he was not advocating for the use of nuclear weapons.

Tim Walberg
Walberg has since walked back his comments, calling himself a “child of the Cold War era.” Joshua A. Bickel/AP

Republicans have been silent in response to Michigan Rep. Tim Walberg’s recent comments that the conflict in Gaza should end “like Nagasaki and Hiroshima.”

A video posted on X on Friday showed Walberg at a recent town hall in his district, answering a constituent’s question about President Joe Biden’s plan to build a port to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza. Walberg responded that the U.S. should not “be spending a dime” on humanitarian aid and then referenced the atomic bombs dropped over the two Japanese cities toward the end of World War II that killed hundreds of thousands of people.

“Get it over quick,” he said.

Republicans on Capitol Hill have been notably muted. Michigan Reps. Jack Bergman, John Moolenaar, Lisa McClain, Bill Huizenga and John James did not return requests for comment.

Some Republicans in Michigan weren’t even aware of Walberg’s latest controversy — several Republican operatives only became aware of Walberg’s comments after NOTUS asked them during phone calls or text conversations.

“Didn’t even see them,” Andy Sebolt, a GOP district chair, said in a text.

One Michigan GOP insider, who requested anonymity to speak candidly, did call Walberg’s comments “ill-timed” and “insensitive.” The insider added that Walberg’s opinions weren’t representative of the Republican Party.

“At the end of the day, nobody wants to be at war,” they said. “We’ve just got too much going on in our backyard that we need to take care of.”

Former Rep. Justin Amash, who is Palestinian American and running for Michigan’s open Senate seat as a Republican, said on X that Walberg’s comments “evidence an utter indifference to human suffering.”

“For him to suggest that hundreds of thousands of innocent Palestinians should be obliterated, including my own relatives sheltering at an Orthodox Christian church, is reprehensible and indefensible,” he said.

Walberg has since walked back his comments, calling himself a “child of the Cold War era” who wouldn’t advocate for “the use of nuclear weapons,” according to a statement posted on X.

He said his remarks were taken out of context, and he meant to say that the sooner the wars end, the more innocent lives would be saved.

“The sooner Russia and Hamas surrender, the easier it will be to move forward,” the statement read.

This isn’t Walberg’s first time mired in controversy for his opinions on foreign policy. In January, he was criticized for praising Uganda’s extreme bill that criminalizes homosexuality.

Walberg’s Democratic colleagues were quick to rebuke him, as the conflict in Gaza affects much state’s Arab American constituents, many of whom have lost relatives since Israel’s retaliatory campaign against Hamas began.

Rep. Elissa Slotkin said on X that Walberg should “try to put himself in the shoes of the many Michiganders who see themselves in the casualties in Gaza.” Rep. Hillary Scholten called Walberg’s comments “reckless and wrong.”

“As Christians, we’re called to care for the innocent and the most vulnerable, and this falls far short. I urge him to retract and apologize,” Scholten said on X.

Tinashe Chingarande is a NOTUS reporter and an Allbritton Journalism Institute fellow.