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January 8, 2018 6:35 pm

Leaping to Trump’s Defense, World Jewish Congress Chief Says ‘Intelligent’ President ‘Confuses’ Critics

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Donald Trump – at the time president-elect – bids farewell to WJC head Ronald Lauder at his Mar-a-Lago, Florida estate in December 2016. Photo: Reuters / Jonathan Ernst.

The head of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald Lauder, came to the defense on Monday of his embattled boyhood friend, US President Donald Trump, as the angry public debate provoked by Fire and Fury, author Michael Wolff’s controversial account of the Trump White House, rumbled on.

In an unsolicited statement, first reported by The New York Times, Lauder — a cosmetics fortune heir and life-long Republican — emphasized that he “had known Donald Trump for fifty years, dating back to his time as a student at the University of Pennsylvania.”

Lauder said he had enjoyed “the privilege” of working with Trump on “some of the most complex diplomatic challenges imaginable.”

“The President I have seen is a man of incredible insight and intelligence,” Lauder continued. “But he is not a politician and that confuses his critics.”

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Lauder concluded: “When President Trump refuses to speak in stale political platitudes, his critics think he is missing something. But the truth is President Trump speaks to the country in an authentic and genuine way that Americans understand and appreciate.”

Lauder has previously defended Trump from complaints that the president’s communications style is crude and needlessly provocative. In an interview last April with journalist Phil Boas, Lauder observed that the “America that carried Trump to victory is a very different America.”

“It’s not the America that we see around us. It’s an America that we don’t see,” Lauder said. “And it’s a critical element.”

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