President Donald Trump said on Sunday that Israel’s return to national elections just six months after the previous one is “ridiculous” and “all messed up,” but added that there is a “good chance” that his Mideast peace plan will succeed.
Addressing reporters on the White House lawn before departing to the United Kingdom, Trump said “Israel is all messed up with their election. I mean, that came out of the blue three days ago. So that’s all messed up. They ought to get their act together.”
“Bibi [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] got elected,” said Trump, and “now, all of a sudden, they’re going to have to go through the process again until September? That’s ridiculous. So we’re not happy about that.”
Last Thursday, the day after last-ditch efforts to secure a deal with Yisrael Beitenu leader Avigdor Lieberman and the ultra-Orthodox parties fell through and the 21st Knesset voted to dissolve itself and set a date for new elections, Trump also addressed the Israeli political situation.
“Well, it’s too bad what happened in Israel,” he said. “It looked like a total win for Netanyahu, who’s a great guy, he’s a great guy,”
“That is too bad, because they don’t need this. I mean they’ve got enough turmoil over there, it’s a tough place.”
Trump also disagreed with a statement made by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to a group of Jewish leaders in New York and quoted in the Washington Post that the Trump peace plan might not “gain traction.”
“I think we have a good chance,” Trump said. “But we’ll see what happens.”