Although the two world leaders were close allies during their respective terms in office, former President Donald Trump has expressed harsh criticism of former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Specifically, Trump slammed Netanyahu for quickly congratulating President Joe Biden after November’s presidential election.
“Nobody did more for Bibi”
In comments released from his interview with journalist Barak Ravid for a forthcoming book, Trump made it clear that he viewed his Israeli counterpart’s response as disloyal.
“Nobody did more for Bibi,” he said, using a nickname commonly attributed to Netanyahu. “And I liked Bibi. I still like Bibi. But I also like loyalty. The first person to congratulate Biden was Bibi. And not only did he congratulate him, he did it on tape.”
As Fox News pointed out, however, Netanyahu waited about 12 hours after the race was called for Biden to offer congratulations, which was after other world leaders made similar statements.
In a tweet on Nov. 8, Netanyahu wrote: “Congratulations Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Joe, we’ve had a long and warm personal relationship for nearly 40 years, and I know you as a great friend of Israel.”
He went on to express optimism that working with the incoming Biden administration would “further strengthen the special alliance between the US and Israel.”
“I haven’t spoken to him since”
For his part, Trump questioned whether Netanyahu and Biden ever had a close friendship, asserting that if they were friends then Biden would not have supported the Iran nuclear deal approved under the Obama administration. In any case, the ex-president made his disdain toward his one-time ally clear.
“I haven’t spoken to him since,” he said in reference to Netanyahu’s acknowledgment of Biden’s win. “F*** him.”
Trump went on to credit his own administration for advancing pro-Israel policies including recognizing the nation’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. He also said that such action helped boost Netanyahu’s popularity ahead of a tight 2019 election.
Ravid’s book is said to also focus on Trump’s efforts on behalf of Israel — particularly the Abraham Accords, which provided Israel with strategic allies in the region.
Netanyahu reacted to Trump’s expletive-laced criticism in a statement of his own, declaring: “I highly appreciate President Trump’s big contribution to Israel and its security. I also appreciate the importance of the strong alliance between Israel and the U.S. and therefore it was important for me to congratulate the incoming President.”