Friday 20 April 2018

Furore sees Trump postpone Israel trip 'until I'm president'

Donald Trump cowers as a bald eagle flaps his wings during a photo shoot for ‘Time’ magazine, in a video released yesterday
Donald Trump cowers as a bald eagle flaps his wings during a photo shoot for ‘Time’ magazine, in a video released yesterday

David Lawler

Donald Trump has cancelled a trip to Israel, saying "I'll wait until I'm president", following a furious backlash to his comments on banning Muslims from entering the US.

The announcement from the US Republican presidential hopeful of the postponement of his trip to the Holy Land came as a petition calling to ban him from the UK passed 400,000.

Speaking on Fox News yesterday, Mr Trump discussed his reasons for cancelling his Israel trip: "I didn't want to put him - Benjamin Netanyahu - under pressure. I decided I'll really focus on this. I have a tremendous amount of support from Israel.

"So all I am doing is postponing it, and I think that's a better alternative."

He went on to say that he believed that Britain is in denial about its "Muslim problem".

"The UK is trying hard to disguise their massive Muslim problem," he said, yet "everybody is wise to what is happening, very sad! Be honest."

He had earlier announced that he would be travelling to the Holy Land on December 28. The statement provoked a chorus of criticism from Israeli politicians - with around a third cautioning against the visit.

The country's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu last night said he rejected Mr Trump's comments about Muslims and Israel "respects all religions".

The Israeli leader, widely seen as a supporter of the Republican Party, shares much in common with Mr Trump. But cosying up to the GOP front-runner is risky, particularly after his statements about Muslims and his comments to a Jewish group that some said bordered on anti-Semitic.

It has not been the best of weeks for Mr Trump. He also lost out to Angela Merkel as 'Time' Magazine's Person of the Year. And his week got even worse yesterday. After he berated 'Time' for its decision to choose Mrs Merkel, the magazine has released photographs of Mr Trump's unfortunate attempts to pose with a bald eagle.

Mr Trump had earlier tweeted his disgust at losing out to the German Chancellor, who had been recognised for her response to the refugee crisis.

During the photoshoot earlier this year, 'Uncle Sam', as the American eagle is named, flapped, pecked and even scratched at Trump during a photoshoot.

The tycoon was having the picture taken for 'Time's Person of the Year special issue, and photographer Martin Schoeller suggested the billionaire sat at a desk with the 27-year-old bird.

In a post titled 'The Person of the Year runner-up encounters the American symbol', 'Time' shared a video of Uncle Sam flapping his wings as Mr Trump hastily moves to the other side of the desk.

In their special issue on Wednesday, the magazine praised Ms Merkel for her leadership on everything from Syrian refugees to the Greek debt crisis, calling her "Chancellor of the Free World" on the cover.

"Not once or twice but three times there has been reason to wonder this year whether Europe could continue to exist, not culturally or geographically but as a historic experiment in ambitious statecraft," 'Time' editor Nancy Gibbs wrote.

"You can agree with her or not, but she is not taking the easy road. Leaders are tested only when people don't want to follow. For asking more of her country than most politicians would dare, for standing firm against tyranny as well as expedience and for providing steadfast moral leadership in a world where it is in short supply, Angela Merkel is Time's Person of the Year." (© Daily Telegraph London)

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