Former U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he will consider supporting Benjamin Netanyahu in the coming elections in Israel despite being disappointed by the former Israeli premier in the past.
When asked in an interview with Newsmax if he intends to endorse Netanyahu, Trump replied, “I was disappointed with him in certain ways but overall I liked him very much.”
“If he ran, I would certainly give it some thought. We'll see what happens. I don't know that that's going to happen. He disappointed me in certain ways but he also did a very good job in other ways,” Trump told Newsmax anchor Rob Finnerty.
Trump did not elaborate on why he has a mixed opinion of Netanyahu, but last year he lashed out at him in an interview with Israeli Journalist Barak Ravid. Trump said that Netanyahu’s congratulatory message to Biden came too quickly after the 2020 election results were announced, accusing him of being disloyal.
“He was very early. Like earlier than most. I haven’t spoken to him since. F*** him,” Trump said.
Israeli media reports indicate that Trump may not have been aware Netanyahu would certainly run in the next elections, since nobody within his Likud party could pose an actual challenge to his leadership in the primary election. Therefore, Netanyahu will be a frontrunner for the premiership.
“I liked Bibi. I still like Bibi. But I also like loyalty,” Trump was quoted saying in Ravid’s book, ‘Trump’s Peace: The Abraham Accords and the Reshaping of the Middle East.’
"The first person that congratulated [Biden] was Bibi Netanyahu, the man that I did more for than any other person I dealt with. ... Bibi could have stayed quiet. He has made a terrible mistake,” Trump added.
The next Israeli elections are expected to take place on Nov. 1, following the Knesset voted to dissolve on Thursday. Israel’s outgoing Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Wednesday announced he will not run, but will help incoming Prime Minister Yair Lapid, as he leads the caretaker government.
Lapid will welcome U.S. President Joe Biden at Ben-Gurion Airport on July 13, when he begins his trip in the region.
Biden is also slated to meet with Netanyahu during his time in Israel.
The meeting between them was not initially on Biden’s schedule, but has been added in light of the recent political developments in Israel. A White House official told The Times of Israel that the Biden administration wants to avoid the perception that it is meddling in Israel’s election, but there is precedent for presidents to meet both the prime minister and opposition leader during a campaign.
Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.