If, as their supporters believe, both Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu eventually return to lead their respective nations, things are going to be a bit awkward.
Trump and Netanyahu were like two peas in a pod between 2017-2020. Bibi gushed repeatedly that Israel had never had such a tremendous friend in the White House. The Donald liked to quip that he was so popular in Israel that he could become the Jewish state’s prime minister!
But on Thursday, excerpts of an interview Trump granted to Israeli journalist Barak Ravid were published by Israel’s top-selling newspaper Yediot Ahronot, and they are certain to sour the opinion that many Israelis (at least the plurality that supports Netanyahu) have of the former president.
The remarks will appear in Ravid’s new Hebrew-language book Trump’s Peace, scheduled to be released on Sunday. Ravid is a well-known journalist in Israel, and his book will be read by many, as well as be the topic of debate on mainstream Israeli media for some time to come. In other words, nearly every Israeli is going to be aware of what Trump said to him.
And what Trump had to say wasn’t flattering in the least.
“Nobody did more for Bibi. And I liked Bibi. I still like Bibi. He’s the man that I did more for than any other person I dealt with,” said Trump, referring to Netanyahu by his nickname. “But I also like loyalty. The first person to congratulate Biden was Bibi. …I was personally disappointed in him. Bibi could have stayed quiet. He made a terrible mistake.”
Trump continues to contest the results of the 2020 US presidential election. But contrary to his assertion, Netanyahu was conspicuously late in congratulating current US President Joe Biden on his victory, doing so many long hours after other Western leaders. It seemed that he, too, was holding out hope that late returns would tip the balance in favor of Trump.
In fact, Bibi was heavily criticized in Israel for his tardiness, and was charged with putting his personal preference for Trump ahead of Israel’s diplomatic standing with the United States. See: Did Israel Betray Trump?
At the time, Trump reportedly lashed out at the Israeli leader, telling those around him that he had been “sold out” by Netanyahu.
His remarks to Ravid were even more dismissive.
“[Bibi] was very early [in congratulating Biden]. Like earlier than most. I haven’t spoken to him since. F—k him,” said the ex-president.
What makes the perceived betrayal all the worse in Trump’s eyes is the belief that his actions as president possibly saved Israel from imminent destruction.
“I think Israel would have been destroyed maybe by now,” said Trump in reference to his decision to leave the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that Israel so vehemently opposed.
While a great many Bible-believers, both Jews and Christians, are appreciative of how Trump flipped foreign policy in favor of Israel and the further fulfillment of prophecy, most would insist that Israel’s safety rests on no man. That is the purview of the Almighty alone.