Ex-Foreign Ministry chief Shlomo Avineri says president’s behavior, personality make it unlikely he will see out his term
Times of Israel
The veteran former head of Israel’s Foreign Ministry Shlomo Avineri said Saturday that he does not believe Donald Trump will serve out his four-year term, following a rocky start to his presidency that saw his national security advisor ousted, a cabinet nominee withdraw, a centerpiece immigration policy thwarted by the courts and a tidal wave of damaging leaks.
Speaking at a cultural event in Mevasseret Zion, Avineri, now a political science professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said that Trump’s behavior and personality would make it unlikely that he would see out his term, Israel Radio reported.
This is not the first time that Avineri has called into question Trump’s fitness for the role of leader of the free world. Writing in the liberal Haaretz daily last month, the professor lashed out at the president as a racist and sexist authoritarian.
Trump is “not a president of the conservative Republican model akin to [Richard] Nixon or [Ronald] Reagan, but an unprecedented figure in American politics,” Avineri wrote. “It is clear to all that this is a person with aggressive characteristics, rude, racist and misogynistic, who made his fortune (if indeed he does have equity and not just debt) through means that one could call questionable at the very least. Sometimes it appears that he sees his success in reaching the White House as another step in the promotion of his family’s business affairs.”
He added: “There has never been a president like this, not in the United States or any democratic country: It is not his views, but his behavior that will determine the character of his presidency — and the fate of the world.”
Avineri — who during his career also headed the Israeli delegation to the UNESCO General Assembly and took part in Israeli negotiations with Egypt — also cast doubt on the ability of the American political system to contain what he said were Trump’s “authoritarian” tendencies.
“It is not certain that the checks and balances of the US Constitution are strong enough to restrain him,” he wrote.
Meanwhile, world leaders, diplomats and defense officials were getting their first opportunity to meet with members of the new administration this weekend, amid concerns over the new president’s commitment to NATO and posture toward Russia.
Vice President Mike Pence, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly were leading the US delegation to the Munich Security Conference, which began Friday. The annual weekend gathering is known for providing an open and informal platform for allies — and adversaries — to meet in close quarters.