Donald Trump seemed to imply Monday that Israel will pay back military assistance it has received from the U.S.
After being asked about his past condemnations of countries who he said received defense aid from the U.S., he was asked during a press conference whether the same statement should apply to Israel.
“I think Israel will do that also, yeah, I think Israel do—there are many countries that can pay and they can pay big league,” the Republican frontrunner said only hours before he was scheduled to speak at the AIPAC policy conference.
Israel was the top recipient of U.S. foreign military financing in 2014, receiving $3.1 billion according to a State Department estimate.
The other countries Trump mentioned in his answer as receiving military aid—Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia—did not receive U.S. military assistance in 2014, according to the State Department.
The fact that Trump lumped in Israel with the other countries may ruffle some feathers among AIPAC attendees, many of whom see the U.S. and Israel as having a special relationship.
At the conclusion of the conference minutes later, Trump offered reporters a tour of his hotel, where the event was being held.
The crowd, however, seemed largely uninterested, as they started leaving the room before he finished describing the extravagance of the building.
Watch the press conference (Trump is asked about foreign military aid at 1:08:34):
Josefin Dolsten is a news fellow at the Forward. She writes about politics and culture, and edits the Sisterhood blog. She received an MA in Jewish Studies and Comparative Religion from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a BA in Government from Cornell University. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter at @josefindolsten.