Yair Netanyahu meets with senior adviser for Trump reelection campaign in DC
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Yair Netanyahu meets with senior adviser for Trump reelection campaign in DC

On trip to US capital, PM’s son sits with president staffer Katrina Pierson and talks school safety with brother of Parkland massacre victim

Eric Cortellessa covers American politics for The Times of Israel.

US President Donald Trump senior staffer Katrina Pierson, left, and Yair Netanyahu, right. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, Flash90)
US President Donald Trump senior staffer Katrina Pierson, left, and Yair Netanyahu, right. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, Flash90)

WASHINGTON — Yair Netanyahu met with a senior staffer for US President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign on a visit to the US capital this week.

On Thursday, Netanyahu met with Katrina Pierson, a senior adviser for the president’s 2020 bid and a former campaign spokeswoman for Trump in 2016, when she was known for her fiery and combative interviews with cable television anchors.

“It’s so great to have our friend Yair Netanyahu in town,” Pierson tweeted alongside a picture of the 27-year-old son of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, one of Trump’s closest allies among international leaders.

Pierson did not respond to a request for comment on the meeting.

During his trip to the United States, the younger Netanyahu also met with the Advanced Security Training Institute (ASTI), a non-profit organization that provides security and emergency response training based on Israeli techniques to US law enforcement, medical personnel and other groups.

A Washington-based communications specialist, Elise Rhodes, tweeted a photo of herself with Netanyahu at a Thursday night ASTI event.

Netanyahu also met with Hunter Pollack, a student at Florida State University whose sister Meadow was killed in the Parkland school shooting.

“Today I met with Yair Netanyahu, the son of Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu,” Pollack tweeted. “He shared with me the strategies that Israel uses to protect their schools. Israel will always be America’s greatest ally!

Netanyahu, who lives with his parents at the prime minister’s official residence on Balfour Street in Jerusalem, does not currently have a job, but once worked as social media director at Shurat HaDin — the Israel Law Center, an NGO that provides legal services to terror victims.

He was put on leave from that position in March after he mocked and derided President Reuven Rivlin for advocating on behalf of Israeli-Arab rights.

In recent months, the younger Netanyahu has attracted controversy after firing off hostile tweets — and retweets — toward Rivlin and left-wing Israelis.

He has also been supportive of reactionary far-right leaders, including Hungary’s Viktor Orban, Britain’s Nigel Farage, Italy’s Matteo Salvini and others. Last year, he went with his parents to the inauguration of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

Around the same time, he was suspended from Facebook after posting anti-Muslim posts. “Do you know where there are no terror attacks?” he asked in one. “In Iceland and Japan. Coincidentally there’s also no Muslim population there.”

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