In his new book, “Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency,” to be released on July 13, Michael Wolff, author of the 2019 bestseller, “Siege: Trump Under Fire Hardcover,” reports that President Trump called the fact that then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated Joe Biden on his election victory “an ultimate betrayal.”
On November 7, 2020, only a few hours after US media declared Biden the winner of the presidential election—a call which Trump is still contesting—Netanyahu congratulated Biden on Twitter, and said he was looking forward to working with the new president “to further strengthen the special alliance between the US and Israel.”
“Joe, we’ve had a relatively long and warm relationship for almost 40 years,” Netanyahu tweeted. “I know you as a great friend of Israel.”
This was followed by a Nov. 8 tweet, in which Netanyahu addressed Trump, saying, “Thank you @realDonaldTrump for the friendship you have shown the state of Israel and me personally, for recognizing Jerusalem and the Golan, for standing up to Iran, for the historic peace accords and for bringing the American-Israeli alliance to unprecedented heights.”
Thank you @realDonaldTrump for the friendship you have shown the state of Israel and me personally, for recognizing Jerusalem and the Golan, for standing up to Iran, for the historic peace accords and for bringing the American-Israeli alliance to unprecedented heights.
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) November 8, 2020
But that farewell tweet did not improve matters any and may have made them worse in Trump’s view. According to Wolff, “Trump told his aides the tweet came before the ink was dry” and was the “ultimate betrayal.”
“As in all Trump reactions, a variety of grievances welled up here,” Wolff writes. “There was his belief that he had singularly done more for Israel than any American president — and that therefore he was owed. And now sold out.”
Trump’s resentments go back to his first presidential campaign against Democrat Hillary Clinton when an endorsement from Netanyahu would have gone a long way to boost his chances to win. Then there was the former president’s quip to Wolff in 2016 that he was “disappointed” in Netanyahu’s condemning his plan to ban Muslims from entering the United States. At the time, Trump canceled a planned trip to Israel’ possibly as an expression of his displeasure. Of course, his visit in May 2017 was a glowing celebration of what had become a great friendship between the two leaders. Still, in 2019, Trump publicly expressed his frustration over the fact that Netanyahu’s inability to form a coalition government was stalling his “deal of the century.”
For the record, Netanyahu was treated shabbily by President Biden, who only spoke on the phone with Netanyahu on February 17, well after Biden had chatted with most US allies. Clearly, the White House was putting on hold any opportunity to embrace Netanyahu’s potential right-wing government, leaning instead in favor of his potential replacement. Despite all of Netanyahu’s attempts to land an invite to the White House by the new president, none came forth. Now, as chairman of the Knesset opposition, Netanyahu will have to watch from the sidelines as his successor, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, steps into the Oval Office in the coming months. No announcement has been made yet, and the Lapid-Bennett government still has to survive the opposition’s daily assaults to qualify for a White House visit.
It isn’t clear when Trump’s own memoirs will be published, after his revelation a week ago that he was “writing like crazy” and had already turned down two offers from publishers. According to US media, Simon & Schuster CEO Jonathan Karp said in a closed meeting a month ago that he was not interested in publishing the former president’s book.