Recognizing that GOP support needed for deal to succeed, son-in-law and senator tell former president that this new normalization accord would be vindication of his Mideast policy
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and former senior White House adviser Jared Kushner have encouraged former president Donald Trump to support his successor Joe Biden’s effort to broker a normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia.
The type of defense pact that Riyadh is asking to sign with the US in exchange for normalizing ties with Israel will likely require Congressional approval and will need the support of at least some Republicans in a deeply divided Congress.
Accordingly, vocal opposition from Trump could harm Biden’s chances of getting the bipartisan support he needs — particularly crucial given the distaste for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman among progressive Democrats due to the Gulf kingdom’s human rights record.
Viewing an Israel-Saudi Arabia normalization agreement as a national interest that transcends politics, Graham and Kushner have sought to rally the former president’s support.
“I told President Trump… this is the natural extension of the Abraham Accords, and if we can do it, let’s do it. It doesn’t matter how it gets done, on whose watch it gets done. It’d be a good thing for the stability of the Middle East and our own national security and President Trump deserves his fair share of credit,” Graham told the Axios news site Wednesday. Further appealing to the former president’s ego, the veteran GOP lawmaker said he also told him that Biden working to expand the Abraham Accords normalization agreements between Israel and its Arab neighbors that were brokered by Trump is “the highest sign of flattery.”
Kushner, who was the main force behind the Abraham Accords has also passed along that message to his father-in-law, telling him that a Saudi-Israel agreement would represent a vindication of Trump’s Middle East policy by Biden, according to Axios, which cited two sources familiar with the matter.
Graham appeared to confirm that account, telling Axios, “Jared Kushner has been very helpful. He had some ideas for the Palestinian [component of the normalization deal]. I know that he’s offered to help, I think the White House sees him as helpful.”
Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has invested $2 billion in Kushner’s private equity fund Affinity.
It was not clear how Trump responded to Kushner and Graham’s pleas and a spokesperson for the former president declined a request for comment on the matter.
Graham has been one of the most vocal Republicans in support of Biden’s effort and will be traveling to Saudi Arabia and Israel next month for the second time this year in order to try and advance the initiative.