Trump Introduces Orthodox Legal Exec as ‘Israel Consultant’ During Meeting With Jewish Journalists
“One of the benefits of a person like [Donald Trump] is that he really wants to hear from everyone, so he listens to many people and then he synthesizes,” the Republican primary candidate’s executive vice president and chief legal officer said on Thursday.
Jason Greenblatt, an Orthodox Jew from Teaneck, New Jersey, was responding to the question of whether Trump is “ready to be president” – put to him in the immediate aftermath of a meeting his boss held with representatives of the Jewish media, among them The Algemeiner, in the GOP frontrunner’s office in New York City.
When asked by The Algemeiner about his positions on Israeli settlements and military behavior in the face of terrorism, Trump promptly summoned Greenblatt – who said he’s also known by his Hebrew name, Dov, and that he had studied at a yeshiva in a West Bank settlement – to serve as his spokesman throughout and following the discussion.
“Corey, go see if you can bring Jason [Greenblatt] up here,” Trump called out to his campaign manager, the now infamous Corey Lewandowski – who had just been informed that authorities would not proceed with the battery case against him involving Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields’ accusation that he had grabbed her forcefully when she attempted to ask Trump a question at an event in Florida last month.
Trump introduced Greenblatt as someone “who’s been with me for many years; a very religious person, to put it mildly; he goes to Israel every year.”
Greenblatt recounted that when he had first begun working for Trump nearly 20 years ago, a big business deal was in the works, which had to come to a halt due to the numerous Jewish holidays that fall in September. He said he had been nervous about having to tell his employer that he could not be available during those days, but Trump gave him his blessing to be absent.
Challenged about which word he would use to describe the territories – “West Bank,” “Judea and Samaria,” “occupied” – Trump deferred to Greenblatt. “Jason, how would you respond to that?” he asked.
“I wouldn’t call them occupied territories,” Greenblatt answered. “I would call them settlements. [But] too much time [is spent] getting caught up in terminology.”
“Yeah, Jason, right, I think I would say that,” Trump said. “Jason’s very much a consultant to me on Israel. He would know it better than me; he would understand it better than me; and I do rely on him as a consultant on Israel. And I like to get advice not only from people who know Israel, but from people who truly love Israel.”
Greenblatt said, however, “I might be more knowledgeable, because I’ve been to Israel, but [Trump] may be more knowledgeable at this point, because he’s a very quick study.”
Greenblatt, who called Trump the “hardest-working man I’ve ever seen in my life,” summarized the real estate mogul’s positions on Israel by pointing to the speech he delivered at the AIPAC Policy Conference in mid-March — a written transcript of which was distributed at the beginning of the meeting.
As for the issue of a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians, Greenblatt said, “I don’t know of any other way” to achieve peace eventually.