Two former candidates for the Republican presidential nomination – Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and ex-senator Rick Santorum, and two former contenders for the Democratic nomination — ex-governors Bill Richardson and Martin O’Malley – took part Monday in a closed-door panel at the AIPAC convention.
All four had some choice words for Donald Trump, who appears to be headed for a victory in the Republican nomination race. The most strident among them was O’Malley, who called Trump a “fascist.”
“I understand he’s going to speak in front of you tomorrow, so good luck with that,” said Graham, eliciting laughs from the audience. According to the NRG website, Graham said that while Trump talks a lot, no one really notices what he is saying. “He talks about neutrality in the conflict with the Palestinians while they seek to murder Jewish children, whereas the IDF does all it can to avoid that,” he explained. “The leading candidate in my party says President Bush, who defended the US after 9-11, is a liar, but calls Russian President Putin a good guy. No one really listens to his plans to cut the US army in half and destroy the CIA.”
Graham added that Trump appeals to the “basest instincts” of the people and predicted that if Trump wins the nomination, the Republican Party will be relegated to the political wasteland for a long time.
O’Malley called Trump “a fascist who is taking America to a dangerous place.” US citizens must not vote out of anger, he warned. “We are much better than how he’s trying to portray us,” he added.
Santorum retorted to O’Malley and noted: “Four years ago, you wouldn’t have said that about him.” Graham added: “Would Hillary Clinton have gone to his daughter’s wedding if she thought he was a fascist?”
Richardson predicted that Trump would tell the AIPAC audience that he is a supporter of Israel, but warned, “He provokes the populace into populist anger and causes a rebellious spirit. “We need to educate Trump about some of the positions he presents,” he added. “We’ll defeat him, but the problem is, we don’t know what he’ll do then.”
Some liberal Jewish organizations and activists announced that they would protest Trump's speech.