Trump scraps planned trip to Israel
WASHINGTON – The Associated Press
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015, in Davenport, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump has scrapped a planned trip to Israel, saying he will reschedule “at a later date after I become President of the U.S.”
Trump tweeted on Dec. 10 that he is postponing the trip, which had become problematic for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Viewed as a Republican Party supporter, Netanyahu’s position became risky after Trump called for keeping Muslims from entering the U.S. and making controversial comments to a Jewish group.
Trump told Fox News there were many reasons he decided to hold off on a trip, among them that he didn’t want to put Netanyahu in a bind.
“In fact, I did a campaign ad for him, and he’s a good man, but I didn’t want to put him under pressure,” Trump said.
“I also did it because I’m in the midst of a powerful campaign that’s going very well,” Trump said.
Trump has the Republican party in turmoil over his call for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the U.S. following last week’s mass shooting by an Islamic militant couple that killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California. Netanyahu’s office had said in a statement issued on Dec. 9 that he rejects Trump’s comments about Muslims but planned to move forward with the meeting with Trump.
The Republican presidential candidate, who has maintained a wide lead in most early polling, sparked criticism among many American Jews last week after speaking to a gathering of Jewish donors. He was booed after refusing to endorse Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel. The United States, like most of the international community, refuses to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and says the city’s status must be resolved in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
Trump also made remarks that some said promoted Jewish stereotypes.
“I know why you’re not going to support me: you’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money,” Trump had said at last week’s gathering.
“You want to control your own politician.” He also said, “I’m a negotiator, like you folks.”
A day before, Trump’s decision to scrap his trip to Israel, the Scottish government sacked him as a business ambassador and the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen revoked his honorary degree after he called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States.
“Mr Trump’s recent remarks have shown that he is no longer fit to be a business ambassador for Scotland,” a spokesman for the regional government said as he was dropped as a “GlobalScot” ambassador, a position he took up in 2006.
A petition to bar the Republican frontrunner from Britain reached more than 358,000 signatures amid an outcry over comments by the tycoon, who owns golf courses in Scotland and has family links to the country.