Mitchell to Kerry: ‘How Disappointed Are You’ Trump Could Undo Your Hard ‘Work' on Israel?

MSNBC host and NBC News correspondent Andrea Mitchell scored an exclusive interview on Wednesday afternoon with Secretary of State John Kerry following his speech blasting Israel and, not surprisingly, she served up softballs for Kerry up to attack Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The warm feelings were clear from the onset as Mitchell gushed over how Kerry’s 70-minute-plus remarks were “unusual,” representing “an important moment” even though President-elect Donald Trump had been tweeting how he’s “very much disagreeing” with the Obama administration’s Israel policy and December 23 United Nations (UN) vote.

Mitchell obsessed about Trump (instead of actual points of contention in the Middle East) by fretting: “How difficult is it for you to operate in this atmosphere where the President-elect is communicating directly with Prime Minister Netanyahu?”

“But also that is an impact because he had a direct impact. He called Egypt's president. As a result of his call, of Prime minister Netanyahu's call, Egypt pulled down the resolution. That is part of the reason you were then accused of orchestrating other sponsors of it,” Mitchell added when Kerry chose not to completely take her bait.

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On the issue of settlements, Mitchell relayed news that, during Kerry’s speech, “we got word that Israel had gone ahead with at least one new settlement approval in East Jerusalem on Palestinian — understood to be Palestinian territory.”

NBC’s chief foreign affairs correspondent then bemoaned: “Could you possibly be making it worse by making the speech now? Are you pushing Netanyahu into moving to the right because of his own domestic politics?”

Perhaps the worst part of the interview came later when Mitchell worried that the Obama administration’s progress (or lack thereof, depending on your view) could be wiped out when Trump takes office:

MITCHELL: How much was Donald Trump's choice of an Ambassador to Israel someone who has been described as to the right of Netanyahu, who is so pro-settlement, how much is that behind your thinking in making your speeches? 

KERRY: None. I haven't considered it. 

MITCHELL: But how disappointed are you after all the work you have done?

By the waning moments of the ten-minute-plus live interview, Mitchell seemed equally if not more concerned about Kerry’s legacy than Kerry himself:

MITCHELL: If — with all the work that you have put into this and with your firm passionate belief in the two-state solution which goes at least 37 years, what is the prospect for a two-state solution if the stated proposals of Donald Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu and the other members of his coalition in particular, if those policies proceed? What is the possibility for a two-state solution?

Here are the relevant portions of the transcript from MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports on December 28:

MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports
September 28, 2016
12:41 p.m. Eastern

ANDREA MITCHELL: Mr. Secretary, thank you for joining us. This is an important moment. 

JOHN KERRY: Good to be with you. 

MITCHELL: An unusual speech, first of all. Donald Trump, the President-elect, tweeted today in part that he was very much disagreeing with the policy. He tweeted, “we cannot continue to let Israel be treated with total disdain and disrespect.” He went on to say “this will all change on January 20th.” Prime Minister Netanyahu tweeted in response that President-elect Trump, “thank you for your warm friendship and your clear-cut support for Israel.” Netanyahu has called your proposals and the vote shameful and he has said it was a coordinated, orchestrated attempt by you — you and this administration.

(....)

MITCHELL: How difficult is it for you to operate in this atmosphere where the President-elect is communicating directly with Prime Minister Netanyahu? 

KERRY: I will let others —

MITCHELL: But also that is an impact because he had a direct impact. He called Egypt's president. As a result of his call, of Prime minister Netanyahu's call, Egypt pulled down the resolution. That is part of the reason you were then accused of orchestrating other sponsors of it.

(....)

MITCHELL: But you did not orchestrate it? Didn't sponsor, push it, recruit them as an alternative to bring it up to the U.N.? 

(....)

MITCHELL: While you were speaking we got word that Israel had gone ahead with at least one new settlement approval in East Jerusalem on Palestinian — understood to be Palestinian territory. Could you possibly be making it worse by making the speech now? Are you pushing Netanyahu into moving to the right because of his own domestic politics?

(....)

MITCHELL: How much was Donald Trump's choice of an Ambassador to Israel someone who has been described as to the right of Netanyahu, who is so pro-settlement, how much is that behind your thinking in making your speeches? 

KERRY: None. I haven't considered it. 

MITCHELL: But how disappointed are you after all the work you have done?

(....)

MITCHELL: If — with all the work that you have put into this and with your firm passionate belief in the two-state solution which goes at least 37 years, what is the prospect for a two-state solution if the stated proposals of Donald Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu and the other members of his coalition in particular, if those policies proceed? What is the possibility for a two-state solution?

(....)

MITCHELL: But George Mitchell was the negotiator for the administration in the first term and he said that the abstention, failing to block the vote was a mistake. 

KERRY: Well, that's his judgment. He’s entitled to his judgement and you know, we have a different point of view and I’ve expressed it as clearly as I know how today. 

MITCHELL: Donald Trump made his views clear on this. Keeps saying, you know, shameful, January 20 things are going to change. He's also weighed in on Twitter on China not returning the China — China not returning the drone, on Taiwan as you know, on nuclear weapons. How difficult is it to be the secretary of state, in charge of foreign policy, reporting of course, to the President when the President-elect is weighing in on so many different issues?
                            
(....)

MITCHELL: Well, what is the down side of moving the embassy to Jerusalem? 

KERRY: Well, the whole world knows that has profound questions of sovereignty and would have a huge impact on the Arab world's perception of jurisdiction and sovereignty over religious sites and the status quo I talked about. 

MITCHELL: Could there be violence? 

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