World Jewish Congress Head Ron Lauder Defends President's Mental Stability, Intelligence

Lauder, a Trump supporter, says he is working with the president on 'the most complex diplomatic challenges imaginable'

Donald Trump next to Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida in 2016
DON EMMERT/AFP

In light of questions that have been raised publicly about President Trump's mental stability and his ability to conduct his job, a prominent Jewish friend and supporter of Trump has come to the president's defense. On Monday, billionaire and president of the World Jewish Congress Ronald Lauder, who has known Trump for decades, published a statement praising Trump and expressing confidence in his functioning.

"I have known Donald Trump for over 50 years, dating back to his time as a student at the University of Pennsylvania. And I now have had the privilege of working with him on some of the most complex diplomatic challenges imaginable," the statement says.

Lauder has reportedly been advising Trump on how to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, urging him to invest effort in serious negotiations that would lead to the creation of a Palestinian state. So far, it should be noted, it's not clear at all that his efforts have led to significant results, since Trump hasn't yet expressed support for such an outcome, after almost a year in power.

A spokesman for Lauder refused to answer a question by Haaretz on whether the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was one of the "complex diplomatic challenges" that Lauder referred to in his statement. "I will let the statement stand on its own," the spokesman replied.

Lauder also stated that "The president I have seen is a man of incredible insight and intelligence. But he is not a politician and that confuses his critics." He added that "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's statement was first published by the New York Times. It comes after a week in which claims about Trump's mental stability made international headlines following the publication of the new book "Fire and Fury." Trump's reaction to the controversial book, including tweets in which he referred to himself as "a genius" and "very stable," only intensified the discussion. On Monday morning, TV host Joe Scarborough stated that a source close to the President told him that Trump was in the early stages of dementia. Scarborough added that he wanted to include this detail in a column in the Washington Post, but the paper refused to print it because it could not be sufficiently fact-checked.