Israel needs to “get their act together” in the wake of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s inability to form a new coalition government and a second election was set for later this year, U.S. President Donald Trump said Sunday.
“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,” Trump told reporters on the White House lawn as he left for his tour of the UK and France.
“Bibi got elected. 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,” he said.
Israeli voters will have a second chance to choose their next government on September 17, after a small conservative party blocked a coalition between Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party and smaller parties on the right.
Trump also said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo may be right in assessing that the administration’s forthcoming Mideast peace plan may be stalled. A Washington Post report quoted Pompeo as telling a group of Jewish leaders in New York that the long-delayed plan may not “gain traction.”
Trump told reporters, “I think we have a good chance, but we’ll see what happens.”
This is not the first time Trump has entered Israeli politics, previously expressing hope that despite stalled coalition negotiations, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would be able to form a government in order to further strengthen ties between the countries.
Hoping things will work out with Israel’s coalition formation and Bibi and I can continue to make the alliance between America and Israel stronger than ever. A lot more to do!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 27, 2019
On Thursday Trump was more stoic and praised the premier as a “great guy.”
“Well, it’s too bad what happened in Israel. It looked like a total win for Netanyahu, who’s a great guy, he’s a great guy,” said the president. “And now they’re back… in the election stage. That is too bad. Because they don’t need this. I mean they’ve got enough turmoil over there, it’s a tough place.”
AFP contributed to this report