John McCain likely would have contacted the White House to let them know what was about to happen, but said he understood why House Speaker John Boehner invited Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu to speak before Congress without telling the White House, the Times of Israel reported.
Of President Barack Obama’s relationship with the Israeli leader, the Arizona senator was blunt, describing it as “the worst that I’ve ever seen in my lifetime,” the Times said.
McCain told CNN that the two nations’ standoff is “a tragedy, because it’s the only functioning democracy in the entire Middle East.”
“No other president has had such a difficult relationship with the State of Israel since it became a country,” McCain added to CNN, noting that “the president had very unrealistic expectations about the degree of cooperation that he would get from Israel, particularly on the Palestinian issue, as well as the nuclear issue with Iran.”
McCain defended Boehner’s actions: “I might have at least informed them. But I certainly agree that you don’t need their permission, given the state of relations.”
Writing in The Washington Post, Marc A. Thiessen said the White House’s campaign of “intimidation and interference” to defeat Netanyahu has only served to backfire, citing a poll in January that found tepid support for Obama from Israelis (33 percent).
Just 22 percent said they trusted the president on Iran and 64 percent do not, the Post said.
Noted Thiessen: “Asking Israelis to choose between trusting Netanyahu and trusting Obama with their security is pretty dumb.”