Neil Vigdor, Alyce McFadden and Nicholas Nehamas at NYT:
Former President Donald J. Trump drew scorn from both sides of the political aisle on Thursday for remarks that he made one day earlier criticizing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and referring to Hezbollah, the Iran-backed militant group, as “very smart.”
During a speech to his supporters in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Wednesday, he weighed in on the Hamas attacks on Israel, the worst experienced by America’s closest Middle East ally in half a century.
Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite group, has clashed with Israeli forces in the days after Hamas fighters from Gaza attacked border areas in southern Israel, intensifying concerns that the country could be drawn into a conflict on a second front.
“You know, Hezbollah is very smart,” Mr. Trump said. “They’re all very smart.”
He took swipes at Mr. Netanyahu on the “Brian Kilmeade Show,” a Fox News Radio show, broadcast on Thursday, arguing that intelligence lapses by Israel had left it vulnerable to the sweeping attack, kidnappings and slaughter of civilians leading to the war.
Donald Trump blames Joe Biden and the "stollen" election for Hamas's attack on Israel pic.twitter.com/VnXb94mO7z— Republican Accountability (@AccountableGOP) October 13, 2023