Trump breaks silence on Israel's military campaign in Gaza: 'Finish the problem'

Trending 1 month ago

PALM BEACH, Fla. — Former President Donald Trump declared Tuesday that Israel must “finish nan problem” successful its warfare against Hamas, his astir definitive position connected nan conflict since nan panic group killed 1,200 Israelis and took much than 200 hostages connected Oct. 7.

“You’ve sewage to decorativeness nan problem,” Trump said connected Fox News connected Tuesday erstwhile asked astir nan war. “You had a horrible penetration that took spot that would person ne'er happened if I was president.”

When asked connected nan programme whether he supported a cease-fire successful Gaza, Trump demurred, avoiding an definitive position connected Israel’s subject effort that has now besides near much than 30,000 group dormant successful Gaza, according to nan Palestinian Health Ministry. The apt 2024 Republican nominee has not provided his ain position connected U.S. aliases Israel's strategy passim nan 5 months of nan war. 

Though a stalwart defender of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s management during his presidency, Trump has besides attempted to onslaught an anti-war posture connected nan run way successful nan past year, attempting to opposition himself from President Joe Biden and his remaining Republican rival, Nikki Haley. 

“Frankly, they sewage soft,” Trump said connected Tuesday astir nan Biden administration, claiming that nan aggression by overseas adversaries would not person happened if he were still president.

“That should ne'er person happened. Likewise, Russia would ne'er person attacked Ukraine," he said.

While Tuesday’s comments offered nan strongest awesome yet from Trump of what guidance Israel should take, he has yet to connection circumstantial thoughts aliases proposals connected really overmuch nan U.S. should beryllium progressive financially, really hostage negotiations should beryllium handled, nan plight of Gaza’s civilian organization aliases whether leaders should prosecute a one- aliases two-state solution to nan conflict.

Reached for remark by NBC News, nan Trump run promoted nan erstwhile president’s grounds connected Israel and blamed Biden for nan ongoing turmoil successful nan Middle East.

“President Trump did much for Israel than immoderate American President successful history, and he took historical action successful nan Middle East that created unprecedented peace,” Karoline Leavitt, Trump’s nationalist property secretary, said successful a statement, adding, "When President Trump is backmost successful nan Oval Office, Israel will erstwhile again beryllium protected, Iran will spell backmost to being broke, terrorists will beryllium hunted down, and nan bloodshed will end.”

Just days aft Hamas attacked Israel, Trump, successful a video posted from his Mar-a-Lago property here, declared: “I kept Israel safe. Nobody other will. Nobody other can. And I cognize each of nan players — they can’t do it.”

Trump did laic retired a fewer markers successful nan 3 weeks that followed nan Hamas attack. He said connected Oct. 11 that a early Trump management would “fully support Israel defeating, dismantling, and permanently destroying nan violent group Hamas,” while telling nan Republican Jewish Coalition later that period that Hamas fighters “will pain everlastingly successful nan eternal pit of hell." That month, his run besides said that, if elected again, he would barroom Gaza residents from entering nan U.S. arsenic portion of an expanded recreation ban.

In nan four-plus months since, however, nan erstwhile president’s once-ardent nationalist backing of Israel has gone mostly quiet.

That soundlessness has tally parallel to Biden progressively coming nether occurrence from left-wing and Muslim American voters for his support of Israel’s consequence to nan Oct. 7 attack. A conjugation of voters is campaigning for Democratic superior voters to ballot “uncommitted” aliases for akin ballot choices, arsenic immoderate backed successful Michigan, wherever nan “uncommitted” ballot earned much than 13% successful past week’s Democratic statesmanlike superior location — a mini uptick from nan astir 11% who voted “uncommitted” successful nan 2012 primary, erstwhile then-President Barack Obama ran unopposed.

In caller weeks, nan Biden management has accrued its disapproval of Israel but has stopped short of cutting disconnected subject aid. Biden is presently pushing for a six-week cease-fire woody that includes nan merchandise of dozens of hostages still held by Hamas.

The Biden run declined a petition for remark from NBC News.

In nan contiguous aftermath of nan Oct. 7 attack, Trump expressed his ire astatine Netanyahu, who congratulated Biden aft his 2020 predetermination win, saying nan Israeli premier curate had “let america down” by allegedly backing retired of what Trump said was expected to beryllium a associated U.S.-Israel cognition to motorboat nan airstrike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani successful 2020. Days later, Trump posted to his Truth Social platform that he stood pinch nan Israeli premier aft pushback from immoderate GOP rivals. 

Robert Jeffress, an evangelical pastor of a Dallas megachurch and a adjacent Trump state who led nan dream during nan dedication of nan U.S. Embassy successful Jerusalem successful 2018, told NBC News past period that he was not “concerned astir his [Trump’s] position waning on” Israel.

The salient pastor, who leads a congregation of much than 10,000 successful Dallas, met pinch Trump astatine Mar-a-Lago successful February and discussed nan support of evangelicals. 

“We would emotion to perceive from President Trump what he’s been saying for nan past 9 years and that is his unconditional support for nan correct of Israel to exist,” he said.

Maureen Maldonado, an writer and a Christian power host, said she understood why Trump wasn’t arsenic vocal connected Israel arsenic immoderate supporters mightiness expect.

“He’s a friend of Israel,” she said. “It’s each political, and he needs to get into agency earlier anything. He’s sewage to play nan game.” 

Vaughn Hillyard reported from Palm Beach, and Allan Smith from New York City.

Vaughn Hillyard

Vaughn Hillyard is simply a analogous for NBC News. 

Allan Smith

Allan Smith is simply a governmental newsman for NBC News.