In spite of warnings from key administration officials that recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and relocating the United States embassy would spark further unrest in the region, President Trump moved forward on both issues Wednesday, keeping with one of his campaign promises.
“It’s insane. We’re all resistant,” said one Trump confidant who recently spoke to the president about it. “He doesn’t realize what all he could trigger by doing this.”
Though Trump appeared to have reached a decision on the matters early on, he continued seeking advice about handling the Middle East situation.
Several advisers said he did not seem to have a full understanding of the issue and instead appeared to be focused on “seeming pro-Israel,” in the words of one, and “making a deal,” in the words of another.
White House officials debated the topic in late November, resulting in Trump's insistence that he follow through with the decision and apparent irritation that anyone would object on the grounds of national security.
“The decision wasn’t driven by the peace process,” one senior official said. “The decision was driven by his campaign promise.”