Former U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over what he described as a lack of preparation for a weekend attack by Palestinian Hamas militants that killed at least 1,200 people in Israel.
Speaking to Fox News, Trump, the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, said Netanyahu “has been hurt very badly” due to the attack.
“He was not prepared. He was not prepared and Israel was not prepared. And under Trump, they wouldn’t have had to be prepared,” he said.
Trump’s comments came as Israel was still collecting its dead and reeling from one of the most devastating attacks in its history. It has retaliated with air strikes on Gaza that have killed at least 1,200 Palestinians.
One of Trump’s opponents in the Republican contest, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, criticized the former president over the comments.
“(It) is absurd that anyone, much less someone running for President, would choose now to attack our friend and ally, Israel,” DeSantis wrote on social media.
Trump and Netanyahu had a close relationship during Trump’s time as president, though cracks have appeared in their once ironclad rapport.
Speaking to supporters in Florida on Wednesday evening, Trump again commented on Israeli security preparedness, pointing to “some of the things that went wrong over the last week”.
Trump added: “They’ve gotta straighten it out because they’re fighting potentially a very big force, they’re fighting potentially with Iran.”