US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses the crowd at a campaign rally in Farmington, New Hampshire.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Donald Trump, the Republican presidential hopeful, lobbied then-candidate John Kerry to be his envoy to the Middle East during the latter's failed bid for the White House in 2004, according to the Internet site BuzzFeed.
According to a Trump biography, the real estate mogul, who has taken the lead in polling among GOP voters by running a controversial campaign that some have accused of anti-immigrant race-baiting, bragged to Kerry that it would take him just two weeks to resolve the Israeli-Arab conflict.
"You know how to negotiate. You’d be the best person to settle the Arab-Israeli conflict,” Kerry is said to have told Trump in the book No Such Thing as Over-Exposure: Inside the Life and Celebrity of Donald Trump
“It would take me two weeks to get an agreement,” the billionaire businessman said in response.
While attacking the Obama White House for its policies toward Israel, Trump has raised eyebrows among potential voters for his remarks on what he would do if elected president.
Earlier this month, “leave open the possibility of spying” on allies like Israel if he were president.
Trump was asked on the CBS news show “Face the Nation” for his reaction to The Wall Street Journal
story from late last month reporting that the National Security Agency spied on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials. The White House planned to use the intercepted information to counter Netanyahu’s campaign against the Iran nuclear deal on Capitol Hill, according to the Journal
“I would certainly not want to do it,” Trump said of spying on Israel.
He added: “But I have to say this. We’re being spied on by everybody. And it’s terrible what is going on in that whole thing. We find out that we’re being spied on by them. And they’re being spied - everything is out.”
In early December, Trump questioned Israel's commitment to a two-state solution, refused to declare his support for a united Jerusalem, joked about Jewish stereotypes and suggested Jewish Republicans would not support him in his bid for the White House because he did not want their money.
Speaking at the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) summit in Washington, Trump struggled to win over the politically savvy crowd of influential and affluent donors focused on prioritizing American policy toward Israel.
Trump began the evening at a disadvantage, after suggesting in recent comments that Israel is primarily responsible for facilitating a final peace arrangement with the Palestinians.
The crowd was further dismayed after Trump refused to affirm that Jerusalem is Israel's united capital, saying instead that he preferred "to wait until I meet with Bibi" to hammer out specifics, which drew audible boos from the audience.
He further agitated the crowd by suggesting that members of the RJC would not support him because he did not want their financial support.
"You're not going to support me even though you know I'm the best thing that could ever happen to Israel. And I'll be that," Trump told the Republican Jewish Coalition. "You're not going to support me because I don't want your money. Isn't it crazy?"
Trump latter salvaged some support back from the attendees with a bit of politically incorrect humor, taking a jab at Jewish stereotypes.
“I’m a negotiator like you, folks,” Trump said, adding, “Is there anyone in this room who doesn’t negotiate deals? Probably more than any room I’ve ever spoken.”