NEW YORK — Donald Trump says he recorded a YouTube endorsement of Benjamin Netanyahu for reelection because the Israeli prime minister asked him to.
Trump tells Shalom TV that Netanyahu called and asked if he would “do an ad or a statement” to support his campaign in next week’s Israeli parliamentary election. “I said absolutely,” said Trump. “They sent a crew in from Israel.”
The real estate tycoon said in Friday’s interview that Netanyahu is a “great man and a great prime minister.”
The video was funded and produced by JDPR, an Israeli public relations firm owned by Jonny Daniels, an immigrant from England who has also worked with conservative Likud MK Danny Danon.
Trump, described as a “close acquaintance” by Daniels, is “a big supporter of the prime minister. He likes him a lot.”
Trump’s admission that Netanyahu had requested an endorsement appears to contradict Daniels’ earlier statement, in which the publicist said the YouTube clip materialized after “a chat I had [with Trump] about making a video supporting the prime minister.
“It was my initiative. I paid and put together the whole video,” Daniels said.
Daniels said it was a response to “a very clear message people here in Israel are getting” that the world was “constantly pressuring and pushing and saying Bibi is bad for Israel.”
“And we have someone who is a celebrity saying Bibi isn’t bad for Israel… that he’s a good, honest, stand-up guy.”
Polls suggest Netanyahu is poised to win Israel’s elections next week and continue in office.