President Donald Trump’s trip to the Middle East and Israel has been remarkably successful. Trump became the first sitting president to visit the Western Wall, he gave a rousing speech against terrorism in Saudi Arabia, and he took a strong stance for peace with Israel and its neighbors.
This has brought praise for Trump from some rather unlikely corners. Here are six figures who praised the president for his Middle East trip.
1. Ali Vitali at MSNBC.
On Sunday, NBC News’ White House reporter, Ali Vitali, praised President Trump on MSNBC, explaining “his attempt to solidify personal relationships” across the Middle East and with countries like Japan and China.
“You saw it from yesterday, even with just the celebratory scene he had at the airport and all of the kind of pomp and circumstance that surrounded yesterday’s events,” Vitali said of Trump’s arrival in Saudi Arabia. “You did see a lot of excitement from the part of the Saudi government in welcoming [Trump] and receiving him.”
Vitali described “a lot of synergy between these two governments, and I think that when you compare that to the Obama administration, a lot of it has to do with the Trump administration and the president’s specific rhetoric on countries like Iran. Saudi Arabia is, of course, concerned about Iran, as the United States has expressed its position from the Trump administration. That really is a point of connectivity for these two governments.”
The NBC News reporter added that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said Trump “has a unique personality that is capable of doing the impossible.”
2. ABC News’ Jonathan Karl.
ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl, who attacked Trump’s approach to the media as un-American, admitted that Trump received a “strikingly warm welcome” in Saudi Arabia on Sunday.
“This has been a strikingly warm welcome for the president,” Karl noted. “You saw the king greet him at the airport. That’s a courtesy not afforded to President Obama in his most recent visits here to Saudi Arabia.” He also noted that Trump was presented a ceremonial sword and “took part in a peace dance, a traditional Saudi peace dance.”
Like Vitali, Karl noted el-Sisi’s praise for the president. “There was a moment here with the president of Egypt where the president of Egypt said that Donald Trump has a unique personality and is capable of accomplishing the impossible,” he noted. “As soon as the translator was done translating it, the president laughed and said, I agree.”
3. Former Dem. Rep. Jane Harman.
Former Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-Calif.), who wrote as recently as October for the Huffington Post and advocated for U.S. negotiation with North Korea, praised Trump’s Middle East trip as successful.
“I want this president to be successful on the trip, and so far he is being successful,” Harman said on Fox News Sunday. “It’s a little too much pageantry for my taste, I’m sure he loves it.”
She emphasized that Trump’s outreach in Saudi Arabia is mutually beneficial. “The messaging helps Saudi Arabia as much or more than it helps us,” the former Democratic congresswoman argued. “But, we are in the Middle East, I love the idea that he’s going to the font of all three major religions.”
4. CNN’s John King.
CNN’s chief national correspondent, John King, whom Trump called “the enemy” by name, actually suggested Trump might have the flexibility necessary to push a lasting solution between Israel and Palestine.
“The ambassadors in Foggy Bottom roll their eyes and they even mock the president when he says, ‘One state, two states, I want what the parties like,’ but there are some people who actually think a guy who’s not so bogged down in the details, but who does broad parameters of a deal, that maybe that’s the circuit breaker this needs,” King said on CNN Monday.
Yahoo! News’ Olivier Knox took that argument even further, saying, “There are a lot of foreign policy people and national security people who think that bringing the two-state solution down to one of the options was a good move.” The Palestinian government’s virtual collapse complicated any two-state solution, Knox argued. “The premises of the two-state solution are not workable.”
Both seemed to agree on one thing — that Trump’s lack of concrete ideological attachments in the peace process might give him a leg up in the interminable struggle which stumped so many presidents before him.
5. Richard Haass.
Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) President Richard Haass, who wrote in The Washington Post that “There’s no place for Trump’s hyperbole in the Oval Office,” called Trump’s Middle East trip “very successful” in an interview on CNBC Monday.
“The Saudis were determined to make this trip a success, in some ways because he was not Barack Obama,” Haass said. From the very outset, Trump “was a long way towards succeeding. He came out with a very tough line toward Iran, which is exactly what they wanted to hear, and he wasn’t picking on them. He wasn’t saying you’ve got to change your politics.”
Summing up, the CFR president said, “He didn’t lecture them, he was tough on Iran, and he wasn’t Barack Obama. That made for a very successful trip.”
6. Senator John McCain.
Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), a longtime critic of Trump who described himself as “almost speechless” about Trump calling former FBI Director James Comey a “real nut job,” praised the Middle East trip in an interview on Fox News Sunday.
“I think this trip so far has been excellent. I think that the Sunni Arab world and particularly our traditional friends there are encouraged because of the very strained, if not estranged, relations between the previous administration,” McCain said.
The Arizona senator added, “I think it’s successful, I think it’s important. There’s no doubt that if we are going to impede the Iranians’ continued efforts to exert — certainly — significant strength in the region, that this is an important step forward.”
Donald Trump still has a lot of work to do to win over skeptics, but this trip seems to have helped him a great deal in that regard. Even so, Americans should not expect the Democrats and liberals in the media to give up their impeachment talk.