President Trump and wife Melania hosted Prime Minister Netanyahu and his wife, Sarah, today. The President and Prime Minister then took questions at a joint press conference. Their wives, Ivanka Trump, and Jared Kushner sat on the front row.
The tone and vibe of their remarks were warm and positive, a marked contrast between Netanyahu and Obama’s prickly interactions. They both reiterated the strength of the relationship between the United States and Israel.
A few notable points:
The conclusion seemed to be this: relations between our countries is already better than between the Obama administration and Israel. What that will mean in practical terms regarding the peace process, settlements, and an embassy move isn’t clear.
President Trump still seemed uncomfortable on stage–especially in contrast to Benjamin Netanyahu. The press conference, though, reminded everyone that Trump is president. Hysteria from the media will not undo that fact.
Here’s the thing I noticed, again. Trump refused to be pinned down. People were worrying on Twitter that it didn’t seem too “presidential” (whatever that means these days) that Trump wouldn’t commit to a one or two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians. Why? Trump basically said, and I’m paraphrasing, Hey, if Israel and the Palestinians, but more importantly, Israel, are happy, what do I care? I want them to come to a resolution, find peace, and be happy. One state. Two state. No matter.
Netanyahu joked about Trump’s view of negotiating saying,”The art of the deal, right?” Trump grinned at the play on the name of his book. [Aside, you should read it to really understand the mind of Trump. And if you really, really want to know and understand him read The Art of the Comeback. People who think he’s an idiot reveal more about their own mental faculties. Trump is many things, but stupid, he is not.]
Trump also didn’t allow himself to be pinned down about the Embassy. President Trump knows where he’s at in this process and he’s not just talking to the narcissistic press. He’s talking to the people of Israel. He’s also talking to world leaders. He’s also talking to the Palestinian leadership and people. They, like the Mullahs in Iran, had a friend and funder in Barack Obama. President Obama sent them millions on the way out the door. That money, of course, will go to fund terrorism. Is it any wonder that Prime Minister Netanyahu is excited to have a new President?
So what was the result of this communication style? Well, so far, this:
Theory 1: Trump is nuts for questioning 2 states.
Theory 2: Trump’s nuttery might scare Palestinians into making concessions.
Theory 3: Both pic.twitter.com/xBqWLNXvsz
— Will Saletan (@saletan) February 15, 2017
Here’s to hoping that President Trump’s communication style continues to frighten all the bad actors. Iran is currently making threats against the U.S. about the “secret deal.”
President Trump continues to be clear about who the good versus bad guys are in the world. That moral clarity is bracing. Choosing to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu and show him public kindness (as opposed to Obama snubbing him) means much in a world increasingly hostile to Israel and the Jewish people.
Bonus: The first ladies of the respective countries get along swimmingly. This link shows some gorgeous women in power suits. Evidently, Karl Lagerfeld will design for the American first lady.
Full video of press conference, here: