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Former US President Donald Trump attends a campaign event on April 2 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images via CNN Newsource)

Trump: Israel must ‘finish what they started’

April 4, 2024

By Kate Sullivan, CNN

(CNN) — Former US President Donald Trump said that Israel needs to “finish what they started” and “get it over with fast,” as he continued arguing Israel was “losing the PR war” because of the visuals coming out of Gaza.

“You’ve got to get it over with, and you have to get back to normalcy. And I’m not sure that I’m loving the way they’re doing it, because you’ve got to have victory. You have to have a victory, and it’s taking a long time,” Trump said in an interview with The Hugh Hewitt Show that aired Thursday.

Trump defended comments he made recently in an interview with Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom, in which he said Israel needed to “finish up” its war with Hamas and that the country was “losing a lot of support” among the world. One of the Israeli journalists who conducted the interview later wrote that Trump’s comments “shocked us deeply” and argued both Trump and President Joe Biden were “turning their rhetorical backs on Israel.”

“What I said very plainly is get it over with, and let’s get back to peace and stop killing people. And that’s a very simple statement. Get it over with. They’ve got to finish what they finish. They have to get it done. Get it over with, and get it over with fast, because we have to, you have to get back to normalcy and peace,” Trump told The Hugh Hewitt Show.

Trump noted, “They’ve got to finish what they started, and they’ve got to finish it fast, and we have to get on with life.”

Trump continued arguing Israel had an issue with its public messaging and said, “Israel is absolutely losing the PR war.”

“And the other thing is I hate, they put out tapes all the time. Every night, they’re releasing tapes of a building falling down. They shouldn’t be releasing tapes like that. They’re doing, that’s why they’re losing the PR war. They, Israel is absolutely losing the PR war,” Trump said.

Trump has made several public comments critical of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu amid the nation’s war with Hamas. Shortly after the October 7 attack by Hamas on Israel, Trump criticized Netanyahu and Israeli intelligence services for being caught unprepared by the attack and said they needed to “straighten it out.” Trump’s criticism of the US ally in the immediate aftermath of a terrorist attack on the nation sparked enormous backlash from both allies and adversaries.

The former president has held personal animosity toward Netanyahu ever since the prime minister publicly acknowledged Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election.

Trump has not specified how he would approach the Israel-Hamas war if reelected to the White House and how his policies would differ from Biden’s. Trump, who has been asked many times during his third presidential run about what actions he would take, only offers vague commentary while criticizing Biden and arguing the October 7 attack would not have happened if he were president.

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