MSNBC's Hayes Slams 'Extremely Provocative Move' of U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem

On Tuesday's All In show on MSNBC, host Chris Hayes and Republican-leaning MSNBC contributor Steve Schmidt were beside themselves over President Donald Trump's expected announcement that he would finally break with past Presidents and abide by the 1995 law calling for the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv to be moved to Jerusalem.

This recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital by the U.S. government was viewed by Hayes as "an extremely provocative move" as he quoted an Israeli-Arab legislator calling President Trump a "pyromaniac." The show also displayed the word "MADNESS" on screen next to an image of Trump.

 

 

As Schmidt spoke on the issue by phone, he condemned the move as a "profoundly irresponsible, reckless decision by this President who clearly has no concept, no idea of the tensions, of the history -- of the history of the last 70 years of the last 2,000 as he meddles in this space and he makes a situation that was tense much worse."

Even though keeping the U.S. embassy out of Jerusalem has not only failed to result in a two-state solution agreement, full-blown wars between Israel and its neighbors have repeatedly happened every few years anyway -- including the West Bank from 2000-2002; Lebanon in 2006; and Gaza in 2009, 2012, and 2014.

The two also seemed to approve of the tendency of politicians to do a "two-step" of making promises about relocating the embassy to "play" voters, but then reneging after getting elected. Hayes posed:

I want to ask about the ways in which sometimes it seems to be me that part of the President's sins have to do with him not doing the kind of two-step that politicians before him have done. And this seems like one of those cases. This is a sort of annual, you know, promise by politicians -- Democrats also -- but particularly Republican politicians.

"We're going to move the embassy to Jerusalem -- we're going to declare it the capital -- no official position on which is the capital." A lot of dancing back and forth to sort of play the base along, but not do it because it's dangerous. And then in comes Donald Trump who's sort of incapable of actually playing the game?

Schmidt agreed:

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For sure. Listen, political candidates in both parties do this because -- to some degree -- all campaigns exist in an alternate reality. But once someone wins the presidency and they take the oath of office, they exist in the real world - which is why for seven decades the United States would never think to undertake such a provocative action -- which is to unilaterally move the embassy to Jerusalem.

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Tuesday, December 5, All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC:

8:26 p.m. ET

CHRIS HAYES: In the daily firehose of news of the Trump administration, every now and then a story comes along that highlights the true stakes of Donald Trump being the most powerful man in the world. We have one of those tonight with the news that President Trump called Middle East leaders to inform them of his plan to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and eventually move the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv. The President's decision to unilaterally declare the city of Jerusalem Israel's capital breaks with nearly seven decades of U.S. policy since the creation of the Israeli state.

(...)

The issue is so combustible, the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem issued a security warning for government employees in the region after the news of Trump's decision. An Arab-Israeli lawmaker tweeted, quote, "Trump is a pyromaniac who could set the region on fire with his madness." Like I said, it highlights the true stakes of Donald Trump being the most powerful man in the world.

8:31 p.m. ET

HAYES: What do you make of this President at this moment surveying the world and saying, "What we need now is an extremely provocative move by the U.S. to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel"?

STEVE SCHMIDT, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Upending -- as you pointed out, Chris -- of seven decades of U.S. policy, and the result here will be human deaths. People will die as a result of this decision in the Middle East. There will be violence -- there will be protests. American nationals will be endangered as they're traveling throughout the region, throughout Europe. And the open question is: How many people? How big will the flames get from the fire that he has just lit? Again, another profoundly irresponsible, reckless decision by this President who clearly has no concept, no idea of the tensions, of the history -- of the history of the last 70 years of the last 2,000 as he meddles in this space and he makes a situation that was tense much worse.

(...)

HAYES: I want to ask about the ways in which sometimes it seems to be me that part of the President's sins have to do with him not doing the kind of two-step that politicians before him have done. And this seems like one of those cases.

This is a sort of annual, you know, promise by politicians -- Democrats also -- but particularly Republican politicians: "We're going to move the embassy to Jerusalem -- we're going to declare it the capital -- no official position on which is the capital." A lot of dancing back and forth to sort of play the base along, but not do it because it's dangerous. And then in comes Donald Trump who's sort of incapable of actually playing the game?

SCHMIDT: For sure. Listen, political candidates in both parties do this because -- to some degree -- all campaigns exist in an alternate reality. But once someone wins the presidency and they take the oath of office, they exist in the real world - which is why for seven decades the United States would never think to undertake such a provocative action -- which is to unilaterally move the embassy to Jerusalem. This is what happens when you have a President who's as completely unprepared with regard to his duties, his job, his sense of history, as this one is.


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NBDaily Israel/Palestine Middle East MSNBC All In Video Chris Hayes Donald Trump Steve Schmidt