NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump spoke strongly in favor of Israel and slammed Iran and the United Nations during his speech Monday before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference.
CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported Monday that Trump mainly stuck to his script, using a teleprompter while delivering his speech before AIPAC.
Trump told those at the conference that “Iran is a very big problem” in the Middle East and denounced the nuclear deal.
“The biggest concern of the deal is they can keep the terms and still get the bomb by simply running out the clock,” Trump said.
The billionaire said at AIPAC that he wasn’t there to pander about Israel.
“I didn’t come here tonight to pander to you about Israel. That’s what politicians do — all talk, no action, believe me,” Trump said.
Trump also railed against the United Nations, calling the international body weak and incompetent.
“The United Nations is not a friend to democracy, is not a friend to freedom, is not a friend even to the United States … and is surely not a friend to Israel,” Trump said.
Trump said he would veto any attempt by the United Nations to impose its will on Israel.
“When I become president, the days of treating Israel like a second-class citizen end on day one,” Trump told an applauding audience.
Trump sought to distance himself from his previous comments that the U.S. should be neutral in peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
“We will send a clear signal that there is no daylight between America and our most reliable ally — the state of Israel,” Trump said.
Trump also said President Barack Obama “may be the worst thing to ever happen to Israel.”
Speaking to reporters earlier on Monday, the billionaire said he was in Washington, D.C., to speak to fellow Republicans.
“I want to speak to governmental people, in Israel and here. I want to speak to various senators and various people,” Trump said.
Republican presidential candidates Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) also addressed the group. The Texas senator insisted he would never be neutral toward Israel and he also criticized the way Trump referenced the Palestinians.
“Let me say at the outset, perhaps to the surprise of the previous speaker, Palestine has not been a state since 1948,” Cruz said.
Malcolm Hoenlein, of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, told CBS2 people at AIPAC will want Trump to clarify a few important points.
“Reaffirmation of the traditional special relationship between the U.S. and Israel and also his understanding of the challenges that Israel and the allies face,” Hoenlein said. “Tonight will be an opportunity to explain that and hear him as they have the other candidates.”
Trump already faced criticism from Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton Monday as she bashed him during her address to AIPAC.
“We need steady hands, not a president who says he’s neutral on Monday, pro-Israel on Tuesday and who knows what on Wednesday, because everything is negotiable,” the former secretary of state said. “Well, my friends, Israel’s security is non-negotiable.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is Jewish, is the only presidential candidate not to address AIPAC, instead choosing to campaign out west.
The latest CBS News/New York Times poll revealed that a majority of voters viewed Clinton and Trump unfavorably.
According to the poll, 57 percent had an unfavorable view of Trump, compared to 52 percent with Clinton. Only 31 percent had a favorable view of the former secretary of state, while 24 percent had a favorable view of Trump.