Donald Trump has been absolutely furious with Benjamin Netanyahu since the Israeli prime minister declined to publicly back his conspiracy-fueled effort to overturn the 2020 election. The Israel-Hamas war that erupted over the weekend has only stoked the former president’s animus toward Netanyahu, and he’s now trying to use the unfolding horror to get even.
In recent days, Trump has had phone calls with various pro-Israel GOP allies and donors who want to know how Trump would handle Israeli-Palestinian matters if reelected, two sources familiar with the matter tell Rolling Stone. Trump has relayed a few ideas he has discussed with policy advisers — including cutting off all aid to Palestinians and encouraging other nations to do the same, as well as capturing and extraditing certain Hamas figures. But during these private conversations, Trump has also spent an inordinate amount of time aggressively trashing Netanyahu.
In a recurring comment Trump has yet to voice publicly, the former president — and former close ally of the Israeli prime minister — has expressed his strong desire for Netanyahu to be gone by the time Trump would potentially be back in office in 2025, the sources recount. Since Hamas attacked Israel on Saturday, Trump has said Netanyahu should be “impeached” by the Israeli Parliament because the assault — which was preceded by an apparently catastrophic intelligence failure on the part of Netanyahu’s government — occurred on his watch. (Israel’s parliament cannot “impeach” a prime minister in the same way Congress can impeach a president in the United States).
Trump has also asked multiple longtime advisers if he should now publicly call for Netanyahu to step down as prime minister. Some confidants and allies have recently recommended that he not do it this week, as the dead are still being counted and a major war seems underway.
The private comments track with Trump’s public speech on Wednesday, in which he criticized Netanyahu and Israeli intelligence while referring to the Iran-backed terrorist group Hezbollah as “smart.” In a meandering monologue, the former president declared himself “the best friend Israel had in the White House by far” but lamented that “he did have a bad experience with Israel.” [Continue reading…]