Virginia congressional candidate flip-flops on supplemental Israel aid again

After telling JI he would ‘100% support a stand-alone aid bill for Israel,’ Cameron Hamilton now says, ‘I’m not really sure’

Hamilton for Congress

Cameron Hamilton is running as a conservative Republican in the GOP primary in Virginia's 7th Congressional District.

Cameron Hamilton, a former Navy SEAL running as a right-wing outsider in Virginia’s competitive 7th Congressional District, again said earlier this week he wouldn’t necessarily support supplemental U.S. aid to Israel, after insisting to Jewish Insider that he would.

Hamilton said in an appearance on the John Fredericks radio and streaming show in March that he didn’t think Israel needed additional aid, that he was uncertain about the prospect of sending it and that the U.S. should renegotiate “any of those trade alliances” with foreign military partners. When pressed by JI, Hamilton walked those comments back, saying in a written statement that he “would 100% support a standalone aid bill for Israel” but opposes combining it with Ukraine aid.

But when he was asked about the issue in another appearance on the John Fredericks show this week, a recording of which was viewed by JI, Hamilton once again appeared skeptical of  supplemental Israel aid.

“A supplementary package always has to be evaluated,” he said. “I think it’s worthy to take a firm look at what specific aid we’re giving to Israel. I’ve always been a supporter of Israel.”

Hamilton continued, “If Israel comes back with another aid package, I think it’s worthy of consideration, but I have initial apprehension about sending more and more dollars overseas when we’re in such a big deficit.”

“So I wish it were an easy yes-or-no answer right now, John,” he concluded. “I’m not really sure. I need to see some of the audits and take a firmer look at the actual aid package that’s going forward.”

Joe Desilets, a spokesperson for Hamilton’s campaign said that Hamilton’s point was that he wanted to read any aid bill before offering his support.

“Saying he wants to read every bill before he casts his vote is not the same as being undecided,” Desilets said. “All that he’s saying in this clip is that he needs more information on the specific aid package.”

In the latest interview, Hamilton repeatedly referenced concerns about the U.S.’ fiscal health, arguing “the best way for us to support Israel is by having a stronger economy” and that cutting government spending is necessary to do that.

Hamilton also warned that “big-government Republicans want to push the United States military into more and more conflicts overseas, such as Ukraine.”

The Virginia candidate, in a reversal from comments on the initial John Fredericks appearance, said this week that he does not want the U.S. to renegotiate its annual “trade agreement” with Israel, appearing to refer to the 10-year Memorandum of Understanding on military aid.

Hamilton said multiple times in the radio interview, “I’ve always been a supporter of Israel, that’s never changed.”

Hamilton is the main competitor to Derrick Anderson — the GOP leadership-backed candidate — in the Republican primary in the 7th District, which is centered around Fredericksburg. Both men are special forces veterans who spent time during their military service training with IDF personnel in Israel.

Hamilton, in the interview, pledged to join the Freedom Caucus, whose leadership opposed a stand-alone aid bill for Israel that didn’t include funding cuts from elsewhere in the government.

He noted that he’s been endorsed by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who has opposed Israel funding on fiscal grounds; Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Cory Mills (R-FL), who opposed a stand-alone Israel aid package; and Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), who supported the Israel aid bill.

Subscribe now to
the Daily Kickoff

The politics and business news you need to stay up to date, delivered each morning in a must-read newsletter.