‘Unless They Give Me an Extension for the Presidency…’ Trump Jokes in Indiana

US Embassy Jerusalem
Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images

President Donald Trump hinted at spending more than eight years in office during an extended story about balking at approving a $1 billion payment to place the new American Embassy in Jerusalem during Thursday’s Elkhart, Indiana campaign rally.

According to Trump’s account, he and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman managed to complete the move with under $1 million by using an existing U.S.-owned property. The proposed $1 billion new construction, Trump claimed, would take years to complete, he was told.

“They said anywhere from five to ten years. So I said ‘unless they give me an extension for the presidency…,'” the president joked to the crowd at Elkhart’s North Side Middle School gym, “which I don’t think the fake news media would be too happy about.”

“Wait, wait …,” Trump corrected himself, “actually, they would be happy, because when I’m not here, their ratings are going to sink, so they’ll probably be very happy.”

The decision to use the existing U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem as the site of the new embassy will allow it to open on Monday, in time for the 70th anniversary of the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel.

For contrast, Trump recounted the sale and subsequent relocation of the American Embassy in London under the Obama and Bush administrations, which by his retelling cost taxpayers a net loss of more than $900 million.

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