Former President Trump recently made headlines with his unusual praise for Hezbollah’s intelligence and criticisms of Israeli officials, a move that drew stern responses from both the White House and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Trump is known for his past remarks appreciating the leadership qualities of several global figures not aligned with U.S. interests, including China’s leader Xi Jinping, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un.
Reacting to Trump’s comments, White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates expressed concern, noting the perplexity over an American leader’s favorable characterization of an organization known for its controversial activities. Similarly, Governor DeSantis reiterated his unwavering support for Israel and emphasized his commitment to addressing international conflicts appropriately.
The comments came during a rally in Florida, where Trump seemed to question the wisdom of U.S. and Israeli security officials’ strategies regarding Lebanon-based Hezbollah. He commented on Hezbollah’s strategic capabilities, a continuation of his pattern of recognizing the strength of certain authoritarian figures, an approach often scrutinized by the media. He further critiqued an Israeli defense official’s public expressions of concern about potential conflicts, implying such statements could be counterproductive.
Expanding on his administration’s interactions with Israel, Trump also shared his disappointment with former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s stance during the 2020 military action that neutralized Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.
Israel’s Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi expressed dismay at the former U.S. president’s remarks, emphasizing the need for unity against common challenges rather than engaging with divisive rhetoric.
Karhi underscored the insignificance of the contentious statements and, when questioned about the former president’s dependability, his response implied skepticism.
The once-strong relationship between Netanyahu and Trump appears to have frayed, particularly after the former congratulated President Biden on his election win, an action that reportedly did not sit well with Trump.