President Trump misses annual AIPAC conference

World Today

Nearly 20,000 supporters of Israel are gathered in Washington for the annual AIPAC conference. The group lobbies for pro-Israel policies in the U.S. It’s their first national conference since Donald Trump became President, but he wasn’t there.

CGTN’s Roee Ruttenberg reports.


President Trump misses annual AIPAC conference

Nearly 20,000 supporters of Israel are gathered in Washington for the annual AIPAC conference. The group lobbies for pro-Israel policies in the U.S. It's their first national conference since Donald Trump became President, but he wasn't there. CGTN's Roee Ruttenberg reports from Washington, D.C.

When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the White House last month, he was thrilled to be hosted by a Republican president. After nearly a decade of butting heads with Barack Obama, Netanyahu could finally see eye-to-eye with Donald Trump. At least, that’s what the prime minister thought.

Trump had promised unconditional support for Israel. Then, he wavered on the two-state solution while Netanyahu backed it. Trump also asked the Israeli leader to hold back on settlement construction in the West Bank. Meanwhile, Netanyahu had just announced new homes would be built.

On Monday, speaking to AIPAC, the powerful pro-Israel lobby, Trump’s Vice President insisted at least one Trump campaign promise was still alive.

“After decades of simply talking about it, the President of the United States is giving serious consideration to moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” Vice President Mike Pence said.

Netanyahu was also absent, but addressed the group via satellite, prompting some to ask if the honeymoon phase was officially over.

Even so, speaker after speaker, including the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, talked of marital bliss.

“Let me assure you right here and right now: President Donald Trump’s commitment is sacrosanct, Congress’ commitment to Israel is sacrosanct. We don’t take Israel for granted, we know that the special relationship is central to our national security,” Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said.

Trump’s ambassador to the U.N. was on hand, to make very clear: Iran is the problem, and should be the body’s focus. In addition, diplomatic attacks on Israel won’t be tolerated.