Clin­ton, Trump buff for­eign pol­icy bona fides

The can­di­dates will square off tonight in their first pres­i­den­tial de­bate

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - NEWS - By Lau­rie Kell­man and Jill Colvin

NEW YORK >> Hil­lary Clin­ton and Don­ald Trump were meet­ing separately with Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu Sun­day, giv­ing the each can­di­date fresh brag­ging rights about their knowl­edge of for­eign pol­icy and readi­ness to lead the na­tion on the eve of their first pres­i­den­tial de­bate.

Trump and Ne­tanyahu dis­cussed “at length” Is­rael’s use of a fence to help se­cure its bor­ders, an ex­am­ple Trump fre­quently cites when he’s talk­ing about the wall he wants to build be­tween the U.S. and Mex­ico.

“Trump rec­og­nized that Is­rael and its cit­i­zens have suf­fered far too long on the front lines of Is­lamic ter­ror­ism,” the cam­paign said in a state­ment. “He agreed with Prime Min­is­ter Ne­tanyahu that the Is­raeli peo­ple want a just and last­ing peace with their neigh­bors, but that peace will only come when the Pales­tini­ans re­nounce ha­tred and vi­o­lence and ac­cept Is­rael as a Jewish State.”

Clin­ton was ex­pected to meet with the prime min­is­ter later in the day, also in New York.

The meet­ing was de­signed to put Is­rael on good foot­ing with the next U.S. pres­i­dent. But it also served to show­case the can­di­dates’ ex­per­tise in for­eign pol­icy in the shadow of their first de­bate Mon­day, six weeks be­fore Elec­tion Day. Clin­ton, a for­mer sen­a­tor and sec­re­tary of state, of­ten says that Trump does not know enough about the world and lacks the tem­per­a­ment to be pres­i­dent. Trump has ar­gued that he has ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence with for­eign pol­icy through his ca­reer as a busi­ness ex­ec­u­tive and blames Clin­ton for many of the na­tion’s stum­bles in for­eign pol­icy.

Mean­while, the can­di­dates de­ployed their top sup­port­ers to the Sun­day shows to take early jabs at their op­po­nents and lower ex­pec­ta­tions for a show­down ex­pected to draw 75 mil­lion view­ers — many of them dis­en­chanted with both can­di­dates, the least­pop­u­lar pres­i­den­tial hope­fuls in his­tory.

Facts and who will de­ter­mine them dur­ing the 90-minute de­bate seemed to be a top con­cern of the cam­paigns’ strate­gists given Trump’s habit of say­ing things that are un­true and the pub­lic’s gen­eral dis­trust of Clin­ton.

Robby Mook, Clin­ton’s cam­paign man­ager, told ABC’s “This Week” that he is con­cerned Trump will con­tinue his habit of some­times say­ing things that aren’t true and still get a pass­ing grade. He called on mod­er­a­tor Lester Holt to cor­rect any in­ac­cu­ra­cies made by the can­di­dates. But Trump’s cam­paign man­ager, Kellyanne Con­way, said it’s not the job of de­bate mod­er­a­tors to fact check.

Trump’s vice pres­i­den­tial run­ning mate, Mike Pence, mean­while, said that Gen­nifer Flow­ers will not at­tend the de­bate. Trump had tweeted that if fre­quent Trump critic Mark Cuban at­tended the show­down, he’d put Flow­ers, al­legedly the for­mer mis­tress of Clin­ton’s hus­band, Bill, in the au­di­ence too. Con­way said that Flow­ers had a right to be there if “some­body else gives her a ticket.” But Pence drew a harder line.

“Gen­nifer Flow­ers will not be at­tend­ing the de­bate to­mor­row night,” Pence said on “Fox News Sun­day.”

Con­way on ABC de­fended the tweet, say­ing Trump “wants to re­mind peo­ple that he’s a great coun­ter­puncher.”

The can­di­date was fo­cused on other mat­ters Sun­day.

Trump’s cam­paign said that dur­ing his meet­ing with Ne­tanyahu, the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee promised, “ex­tra­or­di­nary strate­gic, tech­no­log­i­cal, mil­i­tary and in­tel­li­gence co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two coun­tries” if he’s elected.

The press was barred from cov­er­ing the meet­ing be­tween Ne­tanyahu and Trump, but Trump’s cam­paign said in a state­ment that the men, who have known each other for years, dis­cussed “many top­ics im­por­tant to both coun­tries,” in­clud­ing “the spe­cial re­la­tion­ship be­tween Amer­ica and Is­rael and the un­break­able bond be­tween the two coun­tries.”

Among those top­ics: the nu­clear deal with Iran, the bat­tle against Is­lamic State mil­i­tants, mil­i­tary as­sis­tance pro­vided by the U.S. to Is­rael and other se­cu­rity is­sues.

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