'Fuck him': Trump rebukes Netanyahu for congratulating Biden on election win
Former US President Donald Trump has strongly rebuked ex-Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, once seen as one of his closest allies, accusing him of betrayal after the 2020 US presidential election.
In an interview with Barak Ravid for the Israeli journalist's upcoming book, “Trump’s Peace: The Abraham Accords and the reshaping of the Middle East", Trump railed that Netanyahu had been quick to congratulate Joe Biden for winning the election, which Trump falsely claimed was rigged.
In extracts of the book released on Friday by the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, Trump is quoted as saying: "He (Netanyahu) was very early [in sending congratulations]. Like earlier than most. I haven’t spoken to him since. Fuck him."
Netanyahu, who lost power earlier this year, responded on Friday, saying: “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,” according to Ravid.
Netanyahu once described Trump as the "greatest friend" Israel had ever had in the White House.
“Nobody did more for Bibi," Trump said in the book extract, using Netanyahu's nickname. "And I liked Bibi. I still like Bibi."
"[He was] the man that I did more for than any other person I dealt with.
"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.
"Bibi could have stayed quiet. He has made a terrible mistake."
In reality, Netanyahu had been far slower than many other world leaders in congratulating Biden on his election victory, even raising speculation in the Israel media that he might support Trump's election claims.
'Maybe I will have a second term'
The Trump administration was a key supporter of Israel while the two men were in power, including recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital, dropping objections to its settlements in the occupied West Bank, and recognising Israel's disputed claim over the occupied Golan Heights in 2019.
"[Netanyahu] would have lost the election if it wasn't for me," Trump claims in the new book.
He also told Ravid that his administration's withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran was the most significant decision he had made and that he believed the Abraham Accords would be regarded "very positively".
Asked whether he would seek a second term as president in 2024, Trump replied: "We’ll see, maybe I will have a second term. We’ll see what happens. I am not making any plans.”