Although the two world leaders remained close throughout their respective administrations, former President Donald Trump had some harsh words for former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
As he explained in a recent interview, Trump cut ties with Netanyahu over the latter’s willingness to accept President Joe Biden’s win in last year’s presidential election.
“He was very early — like, earlier than most,” the ex-president said, according to Axios. “I haven’t spoken to him since. F*** him.”
“Bibi could have stayed quiet”
Trump’s cold shoulder came after his administration racked up some geopolitical victories for Israel, such as recognizing Golan Heights as Israeli territory and moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. For his part, Netanyahu frequently touted his close connection to his U.S. counterpart.
Of course, Trump was incensed when Netanyahu recognized Biden as the winner of the election a mere 12 hours after media reports declared the winner.
When his Israeli ally became one of the first world leaders to congratulate his opponent, Trump told author Barak Ravid in April that he would have preferred a different response.
“Bibi could have stayed quiet,” he opined, according to Axios. “He has made a terrible mistake.”
“People were very angry with him”
Trump went on to claim credit for helping Netanyahu remain in power after indecisive election results in 2019, insisting: “He would have lost the election if it wasn’t for me.”
Netanyahu, who has become an opposition leader after his decade-long stint in power ended, responded to Trump’s remarks in a brief statement of his own.
“I highly appreciate President Trump’s big contribution to Israel and its security,” he said, as Axios reported. “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.”
Months after the initial interview, Ravid sat down with Trump again and touched base on the Netanyahu rift. Although Trump eschewed expletives in his follow-up response, his general portrayal of the former Israeli prime minister as disloyal remained largely unchanged.
“I can tell you that people were very angry with him when he was the first one to congratulate Biden,” Trump said of Netanyahu’s post-election behavior.