By Boaz Bismuth, Israel Hayom—
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump says that if he is elected, “we are going to protect Israel” • “We are going to make sure Israel is in very good shape forever,” Trump pledges, declaring that he will be visiting Israel “soon.”
Q: As we speak, today, Israel remembers the victims of war and terror. Our memorial day is today and in a few hours we will begin celebrating Independence Day. As you know, the threats facing Israel have not gone away. On the contrary. As Israelis remember their dead, and then celebrate their independence, what message would you like to send the Israeli people?
“I think that the threat to Israel right now is greater than it has ever been because of what happened with Iran and the Iran deal made by President Obama. I think it is a horrible, horrible situation that our president has placed Israel in and I think that Obama has been very, very bad for the people of Israel. I just want to tell them that I am extremely strongly in favor of Israel, I respect it and have loved the people of Israel for a long time. I have many friends who are from Israel and we’re going to make sure that Israel is going to be in very good shape forever.”
Q: The people of Israel consider themselves to be America’s strong allies. Some of your critics, even in Israel, claim that you would be bad for Israel because you have said that America’s allies should pay back the military aid they receive. Can you assure us that Israel will be treated differently if you are elected president?
“You are the first person to ever tell me that I have critics in Israel. I have such great support in Israel. I did a campaign commercial for Bibi . We are going to protect Israel. Don’t forget, Israel is our great bastion of hope in that region so Israel is very important.”
Q: Congratulations, you are the presumptive Republican nominee. But why is it so difficult for the party leaders to accept that?
“Well, I think it just came upon them very quickly. It was going to be June 6, and maybe even the convention, and all of a sudden I had this tremendous run where I won New York and Pennsylvania and Connecticut and Maryland and then I won Indiana which was going to be a big strength for Cruz and all those other guys and I ended up winning it in a landslide. And they all just left the race, it was just amazing. So all of a sudden we had a winner but it took place very quickly. But I think we are going to have very good relationships. Many, many people are coming aboard right now.”
Q: Do you think people like Paul Ryan will ultimately accept the people’s choice?
“I hope so. I think that Paul Ryan and I will get along very well.”
Q: Let’s talk about November. Do you consider Hillary Clinton to be a tough opponent or do you think she will be easy to beat?
“Everybody’s a tough opponent. I consider all the 16 that I’ve beaten to get the nomination to be tough opponents. They’re all tough opponents. There are no weak ones at this level. She will be difficult just like anybody else.”
Q: Today we learned that you are neck and neck with Clinton in three battleground states — Florida, Hawaii and Pennsylvania. Do you think that this is the beginning of a trend? Do you think you can win a general election in your home state, New York?
“Yeah, we’re doing very well in the polls against Hillary Clinton, and I think we are going to do very well in New York. I really think I have a chance to win New York whereas no other Republican would even campaign in New York.”
Q: Do you think Obama will help Clinton’s campaign?
“He might help with certain groups of people and with other groups but I don’t think he will be much of a factor one way or the other. People are tired of Obama. They want Obama out. And Hillary is just four more years of Obama.”
Q: Do you consider any of the 16 opponents you had in the race to be potential running mates?
“Yeah, I would consider some of them. I have great respect for some of them. Certainly they would be considered.”
Q: Mazal tov on your grandson. I noticed that he has been named Theodore, which is also the first name of the founder of Zionism, Theodor Herzl. Do you think little Theodore is also destined for greatness?
“He’s a great young man. He’s a great guy, this little one. I can’t believe how small they are at that age, but he’s a beautiful baby. The name Theodore is just a name that they really liked and it’s probably connected to a lot of different points. But it was just a name they liked.”
Q: I heard that you will be visiting us here in Israel soon, before the election.
“I’ll be there soon.”