Exclusive: Ex-Trump Envoy — If We Were Still in Office, There’d Be Saudi-Israeli Peace

David Friedman (Menahem Kahana / AFP / Getty)
Menahem Kahana / AFP / Getty

Former U.S. envoy to Israel, David Friedman, told Breitbart in an exclusive interview that President Joe Biden made a grave mistake by condemning Saudi Arabia as a “pariah,” and if the Trump administration was still in office, Riyadh would have formed diplomatic ties with Jerusalem by now.

Friedman’s remarks come amid reports that Saudi Arabia is engaging in talks with Israel about publicly improving ties, and an official announcement that from the the White House that Biden will visit both countries in his trip to the region next month.

According to Friedman, Biden’s overtures towards Saudi Arabia are an attempt to walk back his campaign pledge to turn Riyadh into a “pariah” after the U.S. concluded Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman orchestrated the grisly murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

Biden’s about-face, Friedman maintained, is solely centered on scoring points ahead of the midterms by bringing down the price of gas.

Calling Saudi Arabia pariah “was a mistake by Biden,” Friedman said.

“The opportunity that Saudi Arabia presents for a safer and more prosperous Middle East is tremendous and Biden should have jumped on the progress that we made and taken further steps,” the former ambassador said.

According to Friedman, U.S.-Saudi ties were warm by the time Donald Trump left office, and the administration had made “major progress” in establishing ties between Riyadh and Jerusalem.

“Israel was communicating with Saudi Arabia, there was a fair amount of business being done, [Riyadh had] allowed Israel to use its airspace for flights from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi and Dubai,” he said.

“If we would have remained in office now we have had normalization by now between Israel and Saudi Arabia,” he added.

When Biden came into office, he “took steps backwards.” Friedman said, and was not as “robustly supportive of a new Middle East as we were.”

Pointing to the Abraham Accords, in which Trump-brokered normalization deals between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, Morocco, the U.S. proved itself to be a strong leader under Trump, with the ability to give Middle Eastern nations “the security and the encouragement” they sought.

“That’s the piece of the puzzle that’s been missing for the last year and a half,” Friedman said, and now Biden is “trying to recapture some of that ground, but not for the right reasons.”

“He’s desperate to reduce the price of oil and he’s trying to get gas down to under $4 a gallon before the elections,” Friedman added. “That’s the real pressure on Democrats for the midterms, but it’s the wrong thing to focus on.”

“The reason to embrace Saudi Arabia is because that relationship can end the Arab-Israeli conflict and much of the religious extremism in the area. It’s something that should be embraced for the long-term – and not just to increase the oil supply,” he said.

“Had we remained energy independent that wouldn’t even be necessary,” Friedman asserted.

Asked whether Friedman thought Biden or Barack Obama made for a worse American president, Friedman said Biden remains no match as a “public representative of America.”

“While I disagreed with Obama’s policies every bit as much as Biden’s, I think Obama was a much better public representative of America, and certainly conveyed someone who was intelligent and articulate, energetic and capable,” Friedman said.

Obama was “far less in bed with the extreme left of the United States,” Friedman said, but added that he didn’t know how the former Democratic president would have dealt with the Squad had it existed.

“Overall, the impression he gave was of a far more competent president in control of the high level affairs of the government and I don’t think Biden is able to communicate that level of competency,” Friedman concluded.


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