Netanyahu, who was the Israeli prime minister throughout the Trump administration, did what most world leaders do: He recognized and congratulated the duly elected president of the United States, Olmert suggested in the opening session Monday of the Annual Leadership Dialogue on Israel-UK-Australia Relations.
Yet Trump reportedly was furious that Netanyahu congratulated Biden after he won the election.
“I haven’t spoken to him since. Fuck him,” Trump reportedly told Israeli journalist Barak Ravid in an interview earlier this year for Ravid’s new book, “Trump Peace.”
Trump added: “I like Bibi [Netanyahu] ... but I also like loyalty.” He “could have stayed quiet. He made a terrible mistake.”
Olmert called Trump’s reaction “absolutely crazy.” He accused Trump of judging everything according to his own “personal interest.”
“Trump says the fact that Bibi congratulated Biden is a betrayal, as if the relationship of Israel and America rests entirely on the personal desires of Donald Trump. This is absolutely crazy. I think he’s a pathetic person,” Olmert said.
He pointed out that, contrary to Trump’s claims that Netanyahu congratulated Biden “very early,” he in fact waited so long that it “became embarrassing” from the “friendliest nation to America.”
Netanyahu himself responded last week to Trump’s slam, noting in a statement that, although he appreciated the former president’s work on behalf of the nation, Israel’s relationship with the U.S. remains vital and that it was “important” to “congratulate the incoming President.”
It’s highly unusual for Olmert to defend Netanyahu. He emphasized that he doesn’t like, trust or “believe in [Netanyahu’s] integrity.”
Netanyahu was Israel’s prime minister for 15 years, relinquishing the role last June to Naftali Bennett. He is now considered leader of the opposition in Israel.
Olmert served 18 months in prison for corruption and obstruction of justice after he was convicted in 2014 of accepting bribes from real estate developers when he was mayor of Jerusalem. He served as Israeli prime minister from 2006 to 2009.
Olmert’s comments about Trump can be seen beginning at 12:33 in the video clip up top of the opening session of the Leadership Dialogue.