Steve Bannon has a new defender: Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the United States.
Dermer was at Trump Tower Thursday afternoon and when leaving the building, escorted by Trump’s adviser Kellyanne Conway, he stopped for a short statement to the press pool waiting in the lobby.
Unprompted, Dermer chose to speak out about Bannon.
“We look forward to working with the Trump administration and with all the members of the Trump administration including Steve Bannon,” Dermer said in a brief statement to reporters. Dermer was not asked about Bannon, nor did he mention any other members of the Trump team.
This is the first official Israeli expression of support for Bannon, who had been criticized by several Jewish groups for turning Breitbart News, which he led before joining the Trump campaign, into a platform for anti-Semitic and racist commentators. 169 members of Congress signed a letter this week calling on Trump to rescind Bannon’s White House appointment.
Dermer also said after his meeting that “Israel has no doubt the president-elect Trump is a true friend of Israel” and praised vice president elect Mike Pence as well.
Nathan Guttman staff writer, is the Forward’s Washington bureau chief. He joined the staff in 2006 after serving for five years as Washington correspondent for the Israeli dailies Ha’aretz and The Jerusalem Post. In Israel, he was the features editor for Ha’aretz and chief editor of Channel 1 TV evening news. He was born in Canada and grew up in Israel. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Contact Nathan at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter @nathanguttman