WASHINGTON — Donald Trump said Thursday that he is postponing his trip to Israel, just a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned his proposal to ban U.S. travel for all Muslims.
“I have decided to postpone my trip to Israel and to schedule my meeting with @Netanyahu at a later date after I become President of the U.S.,” Trump tweeted.
Trump had planned to meet with Netanyahu December 28 in Israel, according to an Israeli government official, but shortly after the meeting was reported, Netanyahu’s office condemned Trump’s comments about Muslims.
“Prime Minister Netanyahu rejects Donald Trump’s recent remarks about Muslims,” according to a statement issued by the prime minister’s office.
“The State of Israel respects all religions and strictly guarantees the rights of all its citizens. At the same time, Israel is fighting against militant Islam that targets Muslims, Christians and Jews alike and threatens the entire world,” the statement said.
Netanyahu came under fire from dozens of members of the Israeli parliament for planning to host the controversial GOP presidential front-runner. They called on the Prime Minister to cancel his meeting with the billionaire businessman.
Trump explained later Thursday morning that he did not want to place Netanyahu “under pressure.”
“He said we have a meeting and he looks forward to the meeting and all of that. But I didn’t want to put him under pressure,” Trump said on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends.” “I also did it because I’m in the midst of a very powerful campaign that’s going very well, and it was not that easy to do. I would say lots of different reasons, I could have done it, it was semi-scheduled.”
Trump refused to confirm the meeting when asked about it by CNN’s Don Lemon Wednesday.
“I’m just going to Israel some time before the end of the year, I’m going to Israel, but I’m not saying who I’m meeting with,” Trump said.