Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump does not rule out spying on Israel if elected, he said in an interview aired Sunday, but maintained he “would certainly not want to do it.”
In an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Trump addressed the Wall Street Journal report last week that said the Obama administration had spied on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s lobbying efforts against the Iran nuclear deal.
“I would certainly not want to do it, but I have to say this: We’re being spied on by everybody,” Trump said. “I would say that I would leave open possibilities of doing whatever it takes to make our country very, very strong and to make our country great again.”
The real estate mogul also took shoots at Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, saying she caused “tremendous death” in the Middle East during her term as secretary of state, and accused her of “constantly playing the woman card.”
He slammed Clinton for doing “a horrible job” during her term as the top American diplomat.
“The entire world has been upset. The entire world, it’s a different place. During Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s term, she’s done a horrible job. She’s caused so many of the problems. And let me tell you something. She has caused death. She has caused tremendous death with incompetent decisions,” he said.
The Republican front-runner also accused Clinton of “pandering to women.” She is “constantly playing the woman card,” he charged. “It’s the only way she may get elected. I’m not sure that anybody else other than me is going to beat her. And I think she’s a flawed candidate.”
He also brushed off the appearance of an African Islamic militant group’s video to recruit Americans that shows him calling for Muslims to be banned from coming to the US. On Sunday TV news shows, Trump said it’s no surprise America’s enemies would exploit comments of a presidential front-runner like himself.
“The world is talking about what I’ve said,” the real estate mogul told “Face the Nation” in an interview taped Friday. “And now, big parts of the world are saying, Trump is really right, at least identifying what’s going on. And we have to solve it. But you’re not going to solve the problem unless you identify it.”
The 51-minute video is by al-Shabab, al-Qaeda’s East Africa affiliate, and showed up Friday on Twitter.
Hillary Clinton claimed in the last Democratic presidential debate that another extremist group, the Islamic State, has been using video of Trump in its propaganda. But she had no evidence that that group, also known as ISIS, had done so. Trump told “Fox & Friends” the emergence since then of the al-Shabab video doesn’t change the fact she was wrong: “It wasn’t ISIS and it wasn’t made at the time, and she lied.”
Trump told CBS that Democrats don’t want to talk about Islamic radicalism, but he won’t shy away from it for the sake of depriving extremists of fodder for their recruitment.
“What am I going to do?” he asked. “I have to say what I have to say. And you know what I have to say? There’s a problem. We have to find out what is the problem. And we have to solve that problem.”
The video, broadly seeking the support of blacks and Muslims in the US, contains a clip of Trump proposing the “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” an idea rebuffed by his rivals in both parties.
Al-Shabab is fighting the internationally backed Somali government and has carried out many guerrilla attacks there and in neighboring African countries contributing troops to the effort to stabilize security.