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Kushner: Trump fumed at Netanyahu annexation plans, weighed endorsing Gantz

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US correspondent based in New York

US president Donald Trump (left) welcomes visiting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House in Washington, DC, on March 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
US president Donald Trump (left) welcomes visiting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House in Washington, DC, on March 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

Former US president Donald Trump considered endorsing Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz ahead of the 2020 Knesset elections amid Trump’s growing frustration with Gantz’s rival, then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, ex-White House senior adviser Jared Kushner reveals in his new book.

US President Donald Trump meets with Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz in the White House in Washington on January 27, 2020. (Elad Malka)

Kushner makes the revelation upon recalling how mad he was when then-Israeli ambassador to the US Ron Dermer came to his office and demanded that the Trump administration back Netanyahu’s plan to immediately annex large parts of the West Bank.

It was just days after the White House had hosted a ceremony to unveil its peace plan, during which Netanyahu announced that he would be moving forward with annexation. Kushner says former US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman had gone rogue and told Netanyahu that he would receive Trump’s backing for the move.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during an event with US President Donald Trump in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, January 28, 2020, to announce the Trump administration’s much-anticipated plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

But this wasn’t the case, and Kushner would go on to order Friedman, after the ceremony, to notify Netanyahu that the US was slamming the brakes on his plan.

“Breaking History: A White House Memoir,” by Jared Kushner

Accordingly, Kushner did not take well to the request Dermer made at his White House office several days later.

“I couldn’t believe it. Trump was still fuming over Bibi’s speech. In fact, he had asked me whether he should take the unusual step of endorsing the prime minister’s political rival, Benny Gantz,” Kushner writes in “Breaking History: A White House Memoir,” set to be published on August 23.

“Had I walked twenty feet down the hall to the Oval and asked Trump to go forward with annexation, the president would have thrown me out,” Kushner says.

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