With just a few days to go before the South Carolina Republican Primary, Donald Trump needs to build some momentum at the polls if he wants to comfortably beat rival and current front-runner, Ted Cruz. The junior senator from Texas is two points ahead of the New York real estate mogul, and considering the former’s focus on evangelicals in the southern state, Trump has his work cut out for him. Maybe that’s why the co-author of The Art of the Deal said he’d remain “neutral” in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict when asked about it on Wednesday night.
At the MSNBC town hall in Charleston, South Carolina, an attendee asked Trump how he would broker a peace accord between the two nations, and what specific steps he would take to ensure his deal’s success. In response, the so-called “greatest negotiator” suggested such a deal might not be possible.
“I think it’s the toughest kind of agreement of any kind to make. It has been going on for many years. Many friends of mine have been involved. They’re very, very good businessman. Very good negotiators. A lot of people say an agreement can’t be made, which is okay. I mean, sometimes agreements can’t be made… It is a very, very tough agreement to make. I was with a very prominent Israeli the other day. He said it was impossible, because the other side has been trained from the time they’re children to hate Jewish people.”
Hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski immediately picked up where Trump left off and asked the Republican presidential candidate which side he thought was most at fault. Trump rebuffed the attempted question with his professed desire to remain neutral.
“You know, I don’t want to get into it… Let me be sort of a neutral guy.”
He backed up his position not with specific details, per se, but various anecdotes about how volatile the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been for decades, and especially in recent years. Trump also noted that blaming one side or another wasn’t, in his mind, helpful for any attempted deals.
“You understand a lot of people have gone down in flames trying to make that deal. So I don’t want to say whose fault it is. I don’t think that helps.”
Unlike the majority of party line-hugging Republican and Democratic candidates, Trump’s insistence on neutrality actually offers a somewhat novel position on the matter. Then again, this is the same man who hasn’t shown any kind of neutrality towards Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly and the cable network she works for.
(Via The Hill)