Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump said it was “inappropriate” of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to condemn his plan to bar Muslims from entering the United States.
“He modestly condemned them, and I thought it was sort of inappropriate that he condemned them, but that’s OK. He wanted to condemn them, that’s what he does. OK? But we have a problem,” Trump said Sunday morning during an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper.
Trump continued: “I’m not looking to be politically correct. I’m doing this to do the right thing. This and other things. When I say this — I’m running to do the right thing. I’m doing the right thing. Our country has a problem. People are in fear. They’re waiting for the next attack.”
Trump said that, despite the condemnation from Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister and other world leaders are not distancing themselves from him.
“I had a meeting with Netanyahu. I could be at the meeting right now,” Trump said.
Netanyahu and Trump had been scheduled to meet in Jerusalem on Dec. 28, in a meeting arranged about two weeks before he made his Muslim statements earlier this month.
“The State of Israel respects all religions and strictly guarantees the rights of all its citizens. At the same time, Israel is fighting against militant Islam that targets Muslims, Christians and Jews alike and threatens the entire world,” Netanyahu said in condemning Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims entering the U.S.
While Netanyahu condemned Trump’s statements, he stopped short of canceling his meeting with the U.S. presidential candidate, saying that he is committed to meeting with every presidential candidate that requests a meeting.
On December 10, Trump canceled his trip to Israel and his meeting with Netanyahu, announcing in a tweet: “I have decided to postpone my trip to Israel and to schedule my meeting with @Netanyahu at a later date after I become President of the U.S.”
Trump told CNN on Sunday that he has been told he is doing Muslims “a favor.”
“Again, my relationship with the Muslim community is excellent. I’ve had people call me at the highest level saying, ‘You’re doing us a favor’ because they know they have a problem very well. They really know they have a problem,” he said.