Donald Trump’s trip to Israel passed by in a flash — after all, the president only stopped in the Jewish state for two days.
Nevertheless, Trump managed to do plenty of things during his visit. He checked out the Western Wall, Yad Vashem and the Israel Museum, and he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
The trip also managed to produce plenty of awkward moments involving Trump and his administration — there were some unfortunate typos, a failed attempt at holding the first lady’s hand (which went viral) and two geographic flubs.
Here’s a list of the most tweetable faux pas from Trump’s Israel visit.
1. Trump wants “lasting peach” in the Middle East
A White House statement listing Trump’s goals for the trip included a hilarious (and juicy!) typo: “Promote the possibility of lasting peach” between Israel and the Palestinians. Yes, we get it — it meant to say peace, but who’s to say the two sides can’t bond over some delicious fruit?
— Matthew Levitt (@Levitt_Matt) May 22, 2017
2. Trump pays a visit to “Vad Vanshem” and has an “amazing” time
The White House made another unfortunate typo in a live video feed of Trump’s visit to Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial, by incorrectly spelling the museum “Vad Vanshem” — something that sounds closer to the name of a Dutch count.
Before leaving, Trump signed the guest book with a short message in which he gushed about the museum being “so amazing.” To many on Twitter, the note (which read in full, “It is a great honour to be here with all of my friends. So amazing + will Never Forget!”) seemed a tad lighthearted given the museum’s harrowing context — but hey, isn’t it the thought that counts?
The White House could definitely use a new proofreader. (And Vad Vanshem would be a great name for a Bond villain.) pic.twitter.com/T6btvHz8KX
— Andrew Silow-Carroll (@SilowCarroll) May 23, 2017
3. In Jerusalem, Trump forgets he’s in the Middle East
Trump praised Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s trip organising skills during a meeting in Jerusalem with Rivlin. “The secretary of state has done an incredible job. We just got back from the Middle East, we just got back from Saudi Arabia,” Trump said.
But there’s a problem with that statement: Israel is in the Middle East. And just after Trump makes the statement, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, is seen running his hand through his hair — a move that some have interpreted as embarrassment on the president’s behalf.
Watch Israeli ambassador’s reaction as Trump WHO IS IN ISRAEL says he just got back from the Middle East pic.twitter.com/Lu8BZooXRv
— TRT World (@trtworld) May 23, 2017
4. Secretary of State Tillerson calls Tel Aviv the “home of Judaism”
Ahead of the trip, a Trump official got in a heated argument with Israelis after claiming the Kotel was “part of the West Bank.” So en route to Israel, Tillerson evaded questions about whether the Western Wall is part of the Jewish state. However, he did make waves across the internet for another reason: He stated that Trump was on his way to “Tel Aviv, home of Judaism.”
Critics, like Morton Klein of the Zionist Organisation of America, insisted that Jerusalem, not Tel Aviv, is Judaism’s historical and spiritual home.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson tells reporters today: "Onto the second stop, Tel Aviv, home of Judaism."
— Aaron Magid (@AaronMagid) May 22, 2017
This is roughly akin to calling Houston the home of jazz. https://t.co/O2VwDYAyz0
— Binyamin Appelbaum (@BCAppelbaum) May 22, 2017
5. Netanyahu calls Melania Trump “First Wife”
Yes, English isn’t Netanyahu’s first language, but the Israeli prime minister made a particularly awkward comment during an address at the Israel Museum.
“You, First Wife, First Family, First Lady Melania Trump, your family and your delegation, you’ve shown a great commitment to Israel’s future and to its security,” the Israeli leader said.
The sentence itself sounded strange, but the fact that Melania is actually Trump’s third wife is what made it cringeworthy.
Netanyahu accidentally refers to Melania Trump as "First wife" – which is not accurate in any sense
— Raf Sanchez (@rafsanchez) May 23, 2017
6. The White House can’t decide if Jerusalem is in Israel, or if it recognises “Palestine”
The status of Jerusalem is the subject of a longstanding U.S. policy debate — and it showed during Trump’s trip. In a live stream of Trump’s remarks with Netanyahu on Monday, the White House listed the meeting’s location as “Jerusalem, Israel.”
But during the president’s visit to the Israel Museum on Tuesday, the live stream called the location simply “Jerusalem.” The White House also referred to Abbas as president of “Palestine” in a schedule, despite the fact that the U.S. does not recognise a Palestinian state. It later corrected his title to president of the Palestinian Authority.
— Avi Mayer (@AviMayer) May 23, 2017
White House updates guidance to correct "President Mahmoud Abbas of Palestine” to "President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority" pic.twitter.com/1LO6os4grB
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) May 22, 2017
7. Melania appears to slap away Trump’s hand
Upon arriving in Israel, Trump attempted to hold his wife’s hand — but she looked like she wasn’t having it. In a video that went viral on social media, Melania appeared to slap away her husband’s hand as the couple got off of Air Force One at Ben-Gurion Airport.
The drama didn’t stop after the Trumps left Israel, either: A second video surfaced of Melania seeming to reject her husband’s hand Tuesday after landing in Rome. This may be fodder for the administration’s next misunderstanding: Is Rome the City of Love?
— BuzzFeed (@BuzzFeed) May 22, 2017
Trump and Melania arrive to Rome AF1 ???? pic.twitter.com/JjXzgM6Ox3
— Daniella Diaz (@DaniellaMicaela) May 23, 2017
- President Donald Trump
- Donald Trump in Israel
- Melania Trump
- Rex Tillerson
- middle east
- the white house
- Yad Vashem
- Israel’s Holocaust memorial
- Vad Vanshem
- Vad Vashem
- Saudi Arabia
- Ron Dermer
- west bank
- Zionist Organisation of America
- Benjamin Netanyahu
- prime minister benjamin netanyahu
- Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas
- Ben-Gurion Airport
- Air Force One