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James J. Marlow weighs in on why Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton and is about to be sworn in as commander-in-chief while also highlighting the promises Trump has made toward Israel and commending his choice of appointing Jared Kushner as a senior White House adviser on Middle East issues.
Trump Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News
In early 2016, there were seventeen Republican candidates lined up to become the party’s nominee for President of the United States. Along the grueling process of live debates, interviews and endless controversies, other Republican candidates were also cited to join the race. But slowly, one man’s support across America increased against all the odds as he won state after state forcing big names like Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, John Kasich and finally Ted Cruz out of the race.
Very few gave the billionaire and television personality Donald Trump a chance but the American people said they had tried politician after politician and now was the time to choose a businessman with no diplomatic or governmental experience whatsoever.
For her part, Hilary Clinton struggled to become the Democratic nominee over a Jeremy Corbyn type figure called Bernie Sanders. But she eventually forced him to drop out of the race and was expected by all pollsters to win big against Trump – perhaps 75% to 25%.
So what changed? Those who still oppose Trump moving into the White House will say Russia was the decisive figure interfering in the US electoral process by allegedly hacking into American computer systems to expose “dirt.” But it was still the American people who voted in a free and fair election last November.
Political analysts will tell you that Hilary Clinton’s plan for the future was more of the same as Obama’s eight years in office and with American jobs being lost, salaries stagnated, an immigration problem and crime on the rise, it was time to look elsewhere.
But perhaps what really nailed it for Hilary Clinton was not the Benghazi crisis, when the American Ambassador and his colleagues were brutally murdered in Libya during her time as Secretary of State, or the email scandal of Clinton using a private server for top-secret conversations and then deleting thousands just before a congressional appearance.
Rather it was her husband, former President Bill Clinton saying, “It’s her time now,” as if to say because she is a woman and my wife, it is her automatic right to become President of the United States. This is something the American people could not accept and instead gave the privilege and tremendous responsibility to the businessman with absolutely no political experience.
Trump and Kushner Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News
Donald Trump has promised a lot and is unlikely to deliver half of what he has said, but appointing his Jewish son-in-law Jared Kushner as his Middle East peace envoy is a decisive start. As Trump has previously said, “he knows the region, knows the people, knows the players,” and is unlikely to compare building Jewish homes in Judah and Samaria with acts of terrorism on the part of the Palestinians.
Kushner also has no previous diplomatic experience but steered Trump’s foreign policy throughout his presidential campaign and subsequent presidential transition. He was the primary drafter of Trump’s speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which drew positive feedback from the crowd.
He clearly is someone who has a sense of Jewish identity and he is someone who has a genuine attachment to Israel and understanding of the importance of the US-Israel relationship. As Dennis Ross, a senior Middle East diplomat and veteran of the George Bush senior, Clinton, George Bush junior and Obama administrations, said, “People I know who know him describe him as smart, as someone who will clearly learn what he needs to learn and will approach things thoughtfully, carefully, even analytically. So those would all be descriptors that I would hope would be accurate and emblematic of how he’ll approach his responsibilities helping the new president.”
British MP Michael Gove, who also writes for The Times newspaper, became the first British journalist to get an interview with Donald Trump this week. When Israel came up in the conversation, Trump said the December UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements would only serve to harden Palestinian ideological positions in future peace talks.
“The problem I have is that it makes it a tougher deal for me to negotiate because the Palestinians are given so much – even though it’s not legally binding it’s psychologically binding and it makes it much tougher for me to negotiate,” Trump insisted. But he went on to say, if anyone could broker an elusive Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, it would be Jared, his son-in-law.
“Jared is such a good lad. He will secure an Israel deal which no one else has managed to get. You know, he’s a natural talent, he is the top, he is a natural talent,” he told Michael Gove.
Trump said his daughter Ivanka, Kushner’s wife, would play no role in his administration as she “has the kids” and was busy buying a house in Washington, DC.
During the interview, Trump leveled harsh criticism at outgoing President Barack Obama’s policies toward Israel, calling the US abstention from the UN Security Council vote last month “just terrible.”
When the president-elect was asked whether he would keep his campaign promise and implement the move of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to West Jerusalem, Trump declined to answer. “I’m not going to comment on that. But we’ll see,” Trump said, suggesting he may finally just be learning the art of public diplomacy, which will come in hand on many occasions over the next four years in the top job.