Book: Trump offered West Bank to Jordan; king: ‘I thought I was having heart attack’
Then-US president said to have proposed ‘great deal’ to Abdullah II in January 2018; Hashemite monarch quoted recalling: ‘I couldn’t breathe. I was bent doubled-over’
Former US president Donald Trump offered control of the West Bank to Jordan’s King Abdullah II, a shocking proposal that led the monarch to think he was having a heart attack, according to a new book.
Trump offered the “great deal” to the king in January 2018, according to The Washington Post’s excerpts of an upcoming book.
The report said that Trump seemed unaware that the move could have a potential destabilizing effect on the Hashemite Kingdom, over half of whose 9.5 million population is of Palestinian descent, some of whom have called for the monarchy to be overthrown.
“I thought I was having a heart attack,” Abdullah II reportedly told an American friend later that same year
“I couldn’t breathe. I was bent doubled-over,” the king said.
The book said Trump believed he would be doing the king a favor with the offer, apparently not seeming to grasp its wider implications, or the fact that he was offering land that did not belong to the US.
The report did not say if Israel was aware of the offer at the time.
Israel captured East Jerusalem and the West Bank from Jordan in the 1967 war. The Palestinians want both territories to be part of their future state, a position with strong Jordanian and international support.
The reported proposal came shortly after Trump formally proclaimed Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announced the plan to move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv.
Two years later, then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced his plans for Israel to annex parts of the West Bank, a proposal that was ultimately shelved.
The Washington Post report was drawn from the forthcoming book “The Divider: Trump in the White House, 2017-2021,” coauthored by New Yorker staff writer Susan Glasser and Peter Baker, the White House correspondent for The New York Times.
The book also depicts a US president fixated with attacking those he thought to be working against him, while some senior members of the Trump administration worked to temper some of his more extreme demands, the report said.
There were also times when officials considered mass resignations, the book said.
Trump at one stage asked then-homeland security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to “harden the border even to the point of pushing her to take action she had no authority to take,” the book said, with Nielsen and then-health secretary Alex Azar deciding they would both step down if Trump resumed family separations at the southern border.
“The people who were most fearful of his reign were those in the room with him,” the book said.
The book also said Trump told the authors he had ruled out having Mike Pence as a running mate if he decided to make a bid in the 2024 elections. “It would be totally inappropriate,” he said.
“Mike committed political suicide by not taking votes that he knew were wrong,” Trump said, referring to Pence’s refusal to bow to pressure to stop the certification of US President Joe Biden’s victory in the run-up to the January 6 Capitol insurrection.
Trump also demanded that a number of former security officials lose their clearance, and when the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit blocked a policy, he reportedly told Nielsen they should just “get rid” of the judges and “cancel” the court.
An excerpt from the book published last month said Trump clashed repeatedly with his generals over his desire to hold a huge military parade in Washington, DC, lamenting that they weren’t showing the same devotion that he claimed Hitler enjoyed.
As Trump grew frustrated that the generals were not exhibiting blind loyalty to him, he exclaimed to his chief of staff, John Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general: “You fucking generals, why can’t you be like the German generals?”
“Which generals?” Kelly asked.
“The German generals in World War II,” Trump responded.
“You do know that they tried to kill Hitler three times and almost pulled it off?” Kelly said.
“No, no, no, they were totally loyal to him,” Trump replied, rejecting documented history.