WASHINGTON (JTA) – President Donald Trump said he would have “no problem” selling advanced F-35 fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates and other countries in the Middle East.
Speaking to “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday morning, Trump also said that as Israel normalizes ties with Arab states, the Palestinians “will ultimately come in, too” and “Iran wants to make a deal.”
The president spoke in a telephone interview hours before the signing of the Israel-UAE normalization deal in Washington, D.C.
Trump said this about the sale of the F-35s: “They are very wealthy countries for the most part and they would like to buy some fighter jets. And I personally would have no problem with it.
“Some people do, they say well maybe they go to war. Selling our stuff is good for our country, in one way … You sell it today and it’s obsolete tomorrow. … I view it as an asset, not a liability.”
Remember a couple weeks ago when Trump said a couple words critical of the military industrial complex and certain bold and adversarial journalists took the bait? Listen to this: pic.twitter.com/J0BnfaRXkv
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 15, 2020
Trump also said that selling the fighter jets will create jobs in the United States.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is in Washington for the signing ceremony, has denied that he agreed to the sale of the jets in order to achieve the agreement, under which Israel promised not to annex West Bank territory. Israel’s government opposes the sale of the F-35s to the UAE, citing security reasons, and leading Democrats also have come out against the sale.
U.S. law mandates that Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region must be preserved, including in any U.S. arms sales to the region. Congress has the right to review and oppose such a sale.
Trump said in the interview that “we have a lot of countries that want to get in,” referring to making normalization agreements with Israel. “Instead of dealing with the Palestinians … we took the money away … they’re going to make a deal, you watch. But we started dealing with other people.”
He added that the United States is negotiating with some of those countries.
“The Palestinians will ultimately come in, too. And we will have peace in the Middle East without being stupid and shooting everybody and killing everybody and having blood all over the sand,” he said.
Trump also made the assertion about Iran.