President Donald Trump indicated Friday that he may visit Israel for the opening of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem on May 14.
Trump was speaking alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a press conference in the East Room of the White House.
In answering a question about the embassy, Trump recalled the story of how he had rejected a proposal to build a new embassy for $1 billion over several years in favor of relocating the embassy to the existing consular facility for several hundred thousand dollars:
They came to me with a proposal for a $1 billion embassy in Jerusalem … I called my ambassador, who is a great lawyer … David Friedman, the Ambassador to Israel … I said, what is this $1 billion? He said, I can build it for $150,000. … he said, “I can build it for 150 thousand dollars, the embassy. We have a building, we have the site … we can fix it up and make it beautiful, open our embassy. Instead of ten years from now, we can open it up in three months.”
The ultimate cost of renovations, was somewhat higher, he noted, but still just in the several hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Also on Friday, Israeli construction minister Yoav Gallant revealed that the government planned to build a new “embassy quarter” in Jerusalem in anticipation of additional countries relocating their embassies to Israel’s capital.
According to the Jerusalem Post, the eventual diplomatic quarter could be called “Trump Town,” in honor of the U.S. president who is leading the effort to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named to Forward’s 50 “most influential” Jews in 2017. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.