During a campaign rally in Wisconsin on Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump said he moved the American embassy to Jerusalem in 2017 “for the evangelicals.”
“And we moved the capital of Israel to Jerusalem,” Trump said. “That’s for the evangelicals.”
Trump was touting his foreign policy on the Middle East, comparing himself to the prior administration — former President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden who is running against Trump in the November election. Shortly after taking office, Trump charted a new course in Middle Eastern policy, pulling out of the Iranian nuclear deal the Obama crafted and reinforcing America’s ties to the Jewish state.
Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and relocated the embassy there during his first term. He also granted U.S. recognition of Israel’s claim over the Golan Heights.
“You know, it’s amazing with that — the evangelicals are more excited by that than Jewish people,” he said. “That’s right, it’s incredible.”
Trump said it was “in the best interests of the United States of America and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians.”
“Israel is a sovereign nation with the right like every other sovereign nation to determine its own capital. Acknowledging this as a fact is a necessary condition for achieving peace,” he added.
Evangelical leaders were elated at the move and several Christian supporters of Israel were involved in the embassy’s inauguration in Jerusalem. Support of Israel is a crucial issue for many Christians.
Biden has called Trump’s decision to move the embassy “short-sighted and frivolous.”