Politico reported on Wednesday that some White House interns are “scared” as the Biden administration allegedly embarks on a “witch hunt” to find out which of them signed a letter demanding Biden push for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas War.
“We’re all very scared at the moment,” an anonymous intern told the outlet, adding that it felt like the Biden administration was “on a witch hunt to find us.”
The alleged drama in the West Wing comes days after dozens of White House interns signed a letter addressed to President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris demanding a “permanent cease-fire” in the Gaza Strip between Israel and Hamas forces. The war has exposed severe rifts on the left between pro- and anti-Israel factions.
The letter declared, “We, the undersigned Fall 2023 White House and Executive Office of the President interns, will no longer remain silent on the ongoing genocide of the Palestinian people. We are Palestinian, Jewish, Arab, Muslim, Christian, Black, Asian, Latin, White, and Queer.”
“We heed the voices of the American people and call on the Administration to demand a permanent cease-fire,” it said, adding, “We are not the decision makers of today, but we aspire to be the leaders of tomorrow, and we will never forget how the pleas of the American people have been heard and thus far, ignored.”
No interns put their real names on the letter. Some reports have been skeptical of the letter’s origin, and the Washington Post reported Friday that White House officials believe it was “initiated by an outside source, based on transcripts of a group chat involving interns.”
The interns’ letter alleged that Israel has been conducting a “mass slaughter of innocent civilians in the Gaza Strip,” and that there must be a “complete halt” to it.
After sharing the letter, interns told Politico they fear retribution is coming from the administration just before the end of the Fall 2023 internship program.
The outlet described the feeling among the signatories, stating, “Right now, their only goal is to hand in their badge and make it off campus without being discovered as one of the letter signers.”
A White House official told Politico that there was no such “witch hunt” going on for the interns who added their names to the letter.
The interns have not been the only segment of the White House staff to oppose Biden’s support of the U.S. ally. Last month, over 400 Biden administration officials signed another letter opposing Biden’s support for Israel’s military operation in Gaza. That letter called for a cease-fire as well.
However, that letter was met with opposition from more than 100 current and former government officials from both the Biden and Obama administrations, who declared their support for the president’s backing of Israel. Biden has been critical of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but has not signaled the U.S. will abandon its key ally.