Though Israel wasn't mentioned during Monday's presidential debate, Republican candidate Donald Trump invoked the name of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a heated exchange on the landmark nuclear deal with Iran.
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"I met with Bibi Netanyahu the other day, believe me, he’s not a happy camper," Trump said after being asked about homeland security. Echoing Netanyahu's past criticism of the nuclear accord, Trump’s argument lambasted his competitor, Hillary Clinton, and President Barack Obama for the “worst dealever seen negotiated.”
Trump said the deal will in the long-term strengthen Iran and destabilize the area, and even help its nuclear program.
The initial question posed to the candidates was how they plan on preventing ISIS-inspired attacks on American soil.
Clinton, who played a key role in orchestrating the deal during her term as secretary of state for Obama, defended the deal, saying it put a "lid" on Iran's nuclear program.
She also focused her response on the question, saying preparedness and quick responses by security forces were key. She also spoke about the need to “vacuum up intelligence” and “work closely with allies,” specifically emphasizing “cooperation with Muslim nations and the Muslim American community.”
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Trump for his part digressed from the original question and talked instead about the creation of ISIS, which he attributed to Clinton and Obama's policies, and continued to deny his initial support for the war in Iraq, saying “the Middle East is a total mess.”
Last Sunday, Netanyahu met separately with presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in New York on the sidelines of attending the UN General Assembly session. Netanyahu commented Monday on his meetings, saying that “no matter what happens in November, the friendship between Israel and the U.S. will not only continue but will grow stronger.”