Stories

Trump after Netanyahu election setback: Our relations are with Israel

Trump and Netnyahu at the White House. Photo: Michael Reynolds - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump appeared to distance himself from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today after the latter’s failure to win a parliamentary majority in Tuesday’s elections.

What he's saying: Trump told reporters in California that he hasn’t spoken yet to Netanyahu about the election results and stressed that his administration's relations “are with Israel." Those cool remarks are a blow to Netanyahu, who is fighting for his political survival.

Flashback: During his election campaign, Netanyahu used his personal relationship with Trump as an asset.

  • Netanyahu used images of himself and Trump on billboards around the country and in campaign ads under the headline “In a different league,” a message intended to stress his advantage when it comes to foreign policy experience.
  • Trump gave Netanyahu his enthusiastic backing during April's elections but offered less active public support in the run-up to this week's vote.
  • Trump and Netanyahu did speak on the phone days before the election, and the president tweeted that he'd be willing to explore the possibility of a defense treaty with Israel after the elections. The tweet suggested Netanyahu would be remaining in office — an outcome that is now uncertain.

The latest: Netanyahu cancels trip to UN General Assembly over Israel election results