Donald Trump: I think Obama 'hates Israel'

Story highlights

  • Trump said his friends in Israel "actually think Obama hates Israel. I think he does."
  • The comment came as Trump slammed the deal Obama struck with Iran over its nuclear program

Washington (CNN)Donald Trump said Thursday that he thinks President Barack Obama "hates Israel."

"So many friends in Israel, they don't know what happened. They have a president who -- they actually think Obama hates Israel. I think he does," Trump said during a campaign speech in Reno, Nevada.
The comment came as Trump slammed the deal Obama struck with Iran over its nuclear program and suggested that Iran's top negotiator was too tough for Secretary of State John Kerry.
    Trump also pledged under his presidency to keep Israel safe.
    Trump has often touted his pro-Israel bona fides on the campaign trail, and it's not the first time Trump has suggested that Obama "hates" Israel.
    Before announcing his run for the presidency, Trump in December 2014 retweeted a tweet suggesting the same.
    "It is undeniable that Obama hates Israel," read the tweet.
    While Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have long had a frosty personal relationship, even Netanyahu has repeatedly described relations between the two countries as "stronger than ever" under Obama's presidency.
    Obama has been critical of Netanyahu's at-times heated rhetoric toward Palestinians and, like past U.S. presidents, has criticized continued settlement construction in the West Bank, but has also reaffirmed strong U.S. support for Israel.
    But many Israelis and some American Jews have suggested that Obama has not been a strong enough supporter of Israel.
    Trump spent much of Thursday's speech slamming the questions he and the other GOP presidential candidates fielded the night before in the CNBC Republican presidential debate and, once again, touted online surveys that deemed him the victor.
    He also played up the feud between former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, saying "last night the heat came out" and that there was a "lot of hatred between those two."
    He also said he believed both Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz "did well" in the debate.