Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called President Trump’s controversial decision to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel a “no brainer.”
“I guess the reason it's an issue is because there are countries around the world that would prefer that it had not been done,” Rumsfeld told Fox News host Laura Ingraham on Wednesday night. “It's a no brainer. It's the right thing to do. President Trump made the right decision — he stepped up and did it. It's inevitable that there will be some criticism about it. But I just can't imagine any country in the world that doesn't believe that they have the right to have their capital where they want it.”
The status of Jerusalem is highly controversial, as both Israelis and Palestinians have claimed it as their capital.
Ingraham asked Rumsfeld if Trump would be blamed should the decision provoke terrorism or attacks on U.S. embassies.
“I don't see it that way at all,” Rumsfeld responded. “It seems to me that the president made the right decision. He stepped up and did it. It's inevitable that there will be people that don't like it and will make noise about it, but the idea that it could lead to a stream of terrorism, I just don't see that at all.”
The State Department issued warnings to American embassies around the world to increase security, ahead of the expected announcement, and Hamas, a Palestinian militant Islamic group, said they would call for a new Palestinian uprising if the U.S. named Jerusalem the capital of Israel.
Trump announced Wednesday that Jerusalem would be recognized by the U.S. as the capital of Israel, noting the status quo had not brought about greater peace. Trump also announced the U.S. embassy would be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
"After more than two decades of waivers, we are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians," Trump said at the White House, referencing waivers from him and past presidents that have allowed the U.S. embassy to remain in Tel Aviv.
"It would be folly to assume that repeating the exact same formula would now produce a different or better result," Trump said. "Therefore, I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel."
The U.S., along with many other nations, previously had not identified Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, noting the decision is incumbent upon the result of peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians.