The White House announced Monday that President Biden is not expected to speak or appear in public for the rest of the day, despite the State Department confirming nine American deaths from Hamas’ attacks on Israel. 

As of 11:46 a.m. ET, the White House called a press lid, indicating that they do not expect Biden to make further statements. The move comes on Columbus Day, a federal holiday, when the White House is known to often have a reduced staff.

The White House denied that the lid was an indication that Biden is disengaged with the events in Israel.

“President Biden has been consistently engaged in supporting Israel as they defend themselves against these brutal terrorist attacks,” the White House told Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy. 


Biden spoke on the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier Monday. His Israeli counterpart warned that a ground invasion of Gaza may be imminent. 

The White House also told Fox News that Biden met with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, national security adviser Jake Sullivan and other top advisers Monday morning for updates and “directed his team to follow up on coordination with Israel on all aspects of the crisis and to continue their work with regional partners to warn anyone who might seek to take advantage in this situation.

“This afternoon, President Biden will be speaking with several of our close allies about the latest developments in Israel and we will have more to share soon,” the White House added. 

President Biden also took criticism over the weekend for hosting a barbeque while Hamas was blitzing Israel. The event reportedly was held for White House executive residence staff and their families. 

“While Hamas holds Americans hostage, Joe Biden is enjoying a picnic with a live band,” Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley tweeted. 


But the White House told Doocy that this event had been planned in advance, in order to recognize staff members.

“Yesterday, after another call with Prime Minister Netanyahu and ordering the American military to provide aid to the Israeli Defense Forces to ensure they have what they need, the President held a long-scheduled event to thank the hardworking non-political staff who keep the White House running – operating the kitchens, cleaning the White House, and helping keep the complex safe.

“This date was chosen because there were not White House activities that would require their work and they could bring their families,” the White House added. “They deserve recognition, and no small, petty comments from partisan media or elected officials change that.” 

The State Department says at least nine Americans have been killed by Hamas’ strikes on Israel, Fox News has confirmed. 

In an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller noted that there are also “reports of Americans who are unaccounted for.” 

“We continue to work to confirm that number and to try to locate those who are missing,” he added. “We don’t have solid information about either the number or where they might be.” 

Fox News’ Kate Sprague, Anders Hagstrom, Yael Rotem-Kuriel and Emma Colton contributed to this report.