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Trump: I Canceled Israel Trip to Avoid Putting 'Pressure' on Netanyahu

Image: Trump: I Canceled Israel Trip to Avoid Putting 'Pressure' on Netanyahu
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By    |   Thursday, 10 December 2015 08:42 AM

GOP front-runner Donald Trump said Thursday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a "good man," but he didn't want to put him under "pressure" by paying him a visit later this month.

"In fact, I did a campaign ad for him, and he's a good man," Trump told Fox News' "Fox & Friends" program. "You know, he said we have a meeting, and he looks forward to the meeting and all of that."

"But I didn't want to put him under pressure, number one," he continued. "I also did it because I'm in the midst of a very powerful campaign that's going very well, and it was not that easy to do."

But, Trump told the show, he could have gone through the meeting, which he called "semi-scheduled," but decided he'd focus on the campaign.

He insisted, though, that he has "a lot of friends from Israel and a tremendous amount of support from the people of Israel," and was the "grand marshal of the Israeli Day Parade when it was a very, very tough time for Israel."

Meanwhile, Trump said he thinks "that the worst thing that ever happened to Israel happened to be President Barack Obama, that I can tell you. So what I'm doing is postponing it, and I think that was the better alternative."

Trump suddenly announced his decision on Twitter Thursday morning, hours after Netanyahu said he rejects the candidate's statements about enforcing a "temporary" ban on Muslims coming into the United States.

Further, Trump was soundly criticized by the Israeli press after his statements to the Republican Jewish Coalition on Dec. 3, including The Times of Israel which reported he "courts Republican Jews with offensive stereotypes" and called his remarks "anti-Semetic."

Netanyahu is widely seen as a Republican Party supporter, but on Wednesday said Israel "respects all religions." However, he said he'd meet with the New York real estate mogul on Dec. 28, as he also agrees to meet with any presidential candidate visiting his country, but pointed out that a meeting does not equal an endorsement.

Also on the Thursday Fox program, Trump slammed Time Magazine for its decision to pick German Chancellor Angela Merkel over him as its "Person of the Year" for 2015.

"I'll never be chosen because I'm not a part of the Time establishment, and I think they absolutely picked the wrong person," he complained.

"I think they picked the person that's really done tremendous damage to Germany, and Germany's got a lot of problems right now, including crime that it never had. And I think you're going to see a total disaster. So they picked somebody that I thought was inappropriate. But I said I would never be chosen by Time, even though I was on the cover a few weeks ago."

Trump also doubled down on his call to block Muslims from entering the United States, but said that he'd allow Muslims back in "when people can be properly vetted."

"We have people coming into this country, we have no idea who they are," said Trump.

"This horrible young woman that came in and shot people with her so-called husband last week, she was not vetted. She came in through the process. She was not vetted. They didn't know who she was. They asked her a couple of questions, she came in. And then she went on a rampage with the husband."

But still, he wants the ban to be "temporary."

"You saw many of my friends who are Muslims came out and they said, 'you know, we like Donald,' he said. "And I've gotten calls from Muslims at a high level . . . thanking me for bringing out this problem. Because they know they have a real problem."

Also on Thursday, Trump commented that it is "highly unlikely" that he'll run as a third-party candidate if he is not nominated, but pointed out that he's leading by wide margins in all the nation's polls and he has "lots of options open" if the Republican Party does not treat him fairly.

"My deal would be they treat me fairly and I'm going to treat them fairly," he said. "I don't want to leave. I mean, did you ever hear of a Republican leading by 20 and 22 and 25 points, and all of a sudden I'm going to say, 'oh, I'm going to return as an independent?' It doesn't work that way. No, I'm running — I'm running as a Republican."

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GOP front-runner Donald Trump said Thursday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a "good man," but he didn't want to put him under "pressure" by paying him a visit later this month.
trump, cancel, israel, trip, netanyahu, pressure
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2015-42-10
Thursday, 10 December 2015 08:42 AM
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