Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a chance on Friday to respond to former President Donald Trump’s comments about their relationship after he lost to Joe Biden last year.
Shortly after Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 election, even as Trump’s campaign was challenging election results in a number of key states, Netanyahu, who was still serving as Israeli PM at the time, posted a video congratulating the Democrat, whom he has known for a number of years.
That congratulatory message reportedly set Trump off, who suggested that it was a sign of disloyalty because the two had been very close during his term in office.
“I haven’t spoken to him since. F**k him,” said Trump, according to Axios correspondent Barak Ravid, who spoke to Trump for his upcoming book, “Trump’s Peace: The Abraham Accords and the Reshaping of the Middle East.”
Netanyahu, who is the now-Israeli opposition leader and is attempting to win back his old job by touting his close relationship with Trump — who remains very popular in Israel — responded to the dig on Friday by suggesting that he didn’t have much of a choice but to congratulate Biden.
Due to Israeli’s strong alliance with the United States, “it was important for me to congratulate the incoming president,” Netanyahu said in a statement, according to Axios.
“I highly appreciate President Trump’s big contribution to Israel and its security. I also appreciate the importance of the strong alliance between Israel and the U.S. and therefore it was important for me to congratulate the incoming President,” Netanyahu cordially noted.
Trump had more to say about Netanyahu in his interview with Ravid.
“The first person that congratulated [Biden] was Bibi Netanyahu, the man that I did more for than any other person I dealt with. … Bibi could have stayed quiet. He has made a terrible mistake,” Trump reportedly said, according to Ravid.
“I liked Bibi. I still like Bibi. But I also like loyalty. The first person to congratulate Biden was Bibi. And not only did he congratulate him, he did it on tape,” Trump added, referring to a video that then then-Israeli PM made for Biden.
Regarding the video, Trump said then-first lady Melania Trump showed it to him: “He was very early — like, earlier than most. I haven’t spoken to him since. F**k him.”
“For Bibi Netanyahu, before the ink was even dry, to do a message, and not only a message, to do a tape to Joe Biden talking about their great, great friendship — they didn’t have a friendship, because if they did, [the Obama administration] wouldn’t have done the Iran deal,” Trump said. “And guess what, now they’re going to do it again.”
“Trump also felt he’d helped ensure Netanyahu’s political survival, but didn’t get the same in return. He positively fumed about the video in which Netanyahu congratulated Biden,” Ravid wrote.
“There was no one who did more for Netanyahu than me. There was no one who did for Israel more than I did. And the first person to run to greet Joe Biden was Netanyahu. And not only did he congratulate him — he did it in a video. If you look at the leaders of other countries — like Brazil — he waited months. Putin. Many other leaders. Mexico. All of them also felt that the election was over. But they, too, were waiting. No one did more than me for Bibi. Money too. We gave them a lot of money and gave them soldiers. We did everything,” he added.
In his message to Biden, Netanyahu said that he and Biden have had a “long and warm” personal relationship for almost 40 years and sees him as “a great friend of Israel” and looks forward to working together.
In a Twitter post, Netanyahu also thanked Trump “for the friendship you have shown the state of Israel and me personally, for recognizing Jerusalem and the Golan, for standing up to Iran, for the historic peace accords, and for bringing the American-Israeli alliance to unprecedented heights.”