Wearing a black suit, a tieless white shirt and his trademark red baseball cap on his head, the 45th President of the United States sits down for the interview.
In two interviews he gave to the journalist Barak Ravid in April and July for his new book “Trump’s peace: The Abraham Accords and the Reshaping of the Middle East,” which is published in Israel on Sunday, the former president spoke about his loss to Joe Biden in 2020 presidential elections and his relationship with former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“Nobody did more for Bibi. And I liked Bibi. I still like Bibi," he says, referring to Netanyahu by his nickname. "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. And it was on tape."
Trump then reiterated yet again about the anger he felt when he saw that Netanyahu posted a clip congratulating Biden. He says his wife Melania was the one who saw Netanyahu’s video and told him about it. “She said, Wow, look at this”, he recalls in the interview in April 2021 in Mar-a-Lago.
"The first person who congratulated Joe Biden, because this was an election in dispute, it's still in dispute. The first person who congratulated 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 claimed that unlike Netanyahu, other leaders like Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro and Russian President Putin did not congratulate Biden right away because “they felt the election was rigged”.
According to Trump, Netanyahu's message came too early. “Early, okay? Let's use this. He was very early. Like earlier than most. I haven’t spoken to him since. Fuck him”, he says.
Trump offers his decision to recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights just days ahead of the April 2019 elections as an example, for gestures made to help Netanyahu.
"Take the Golan for example," he says, "That was a big deal. People say that was a $10 billion gift. I did it right before the election, which helped him (Netanyahu) a lot… he would have lost the election if it wasn't for me. So he tied. He went up a lot after I did it. He went up 10 points or 15 points after I did Golan Heights."
Trump tries to change the subject but it all goes back to Netanyahu. "I was personally disappointed in him. The elections here were in dispute. They still are... For Bibi Netanyahu, before the ink was even dry, to do a message and not only a message to do a tape to Joe Biden talking about their great, great friendship.
"They didn't have a friendship, because if they did, they wouldn't have done the Iran deal. And guess what now they're going to do it again. And if they do it again, Israel is in very grave danger”, he says.
Trump added that the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, from which he withdrew in 2018 allegedly after pressure from Netanyahu, was a "disaster".
"Now Biden is going back to the deal because he has no clue. The Israelis fought this deal and Obama wouldn't listen to them.
"The decision to back out of the deal was because of my relations with Israel – not with Bibi. Those were my feelings towards Israel," Trump says of the withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
“I'll tell you what - had I not come along I think Israel was going to be destroyed. Okay. You want to know the truth? I think Israel would have been destroyed maybe by now." the former president says.
When asked whether he intends to run again in 2024, Trump says "We'll see, Maybe I will have a second term. We'll see what happens. I am not making any plans."
First published: 05:53, 12.10.21