Rex Tillerson: Benjamin Netanyahu Often Played Trump
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “played” President Donald Trump on numerous occasions, according to former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Haaretz reported that Tillerson made the remarks during a panel interview with Harvard professors on Tuesday, at which time the former oil executive also said Netanyahu is “a bit Machiavellian.”
“In dealing with Bibi, it’s always useful to carry a healthy amount of skepticism in your discussions with him,” he said.
Netanyahu would trot out “misinformation,” Tillerson said, when he believed it necessary to persuade the United States on an issue.
“They did that with the president on a couple of occasions, to persuade him that ‘We’re the good guys, they’re the bad guys,” Tillerson recalled.
"We later exposed it to the president so he understood, ‘You’ve been played,’” he added. “It bothers me that an ally that’s that close and important to us would do that to us.”
Tillerson also criticized Trump’s tendency to seek advice from voices outside his own administration on issues relating to Israel, suggesting that a solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine could have become reality.
“I did believe that we were at a moment in time where perhaps we could chart a way where the Arab world could support an outcome that the Palestinians might not think was perfect,” he said.
“In the past, if it wasn’t perfect, it didn’t happen — but with enough encouragement, pressure from the Arab world, that we could get it close enough that the Palestinians would finally agree. And in my view, it was a two-state solution.”