(JTA) — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said he would “leave open the possibility of spying” on allies like Israel if he were president.
On Sunday morning, Trump was asked on the CBS news show “Face the Nation”for his reaction to The Wall Street Journal story from late last month reporting that the National Security Agency spied on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials. The White House planned to use the intercepted information to counter Netanyahu’s campaign against the Iran nuclear deal on Capitol Hill, according to the Journal.
“I would certainly not want to do it,” Trump said of spying on Israel.
He added: “But I have to say this. We’re being spied on by everybody. And it’s terrible what is going on in that whole thing. We find out that we’re being spied on by them. And they’re being spied — everything is out.”
Trump told host John Dickerson that he would not rule out spying on allies.
“I would say that I would leave open possibilities of doing whatever it takes to make our country very, very strong and to make our country great again,” he said.
Trump doubled down on his call for preventing Muslims from entering the United States.
“Look, there is a problem. I bring it up,” he said. “Other people have called me. And they say, you have guts to bring it up because, frankly, it’s true. But nobody wants to get involved.
“Now people are getting involved. People that are on different persuasions than me right now, John, are saying, you know, maybe Trump isn’t wrong. We want to examine it. There’s a lot of bad stuff going on.”
Trump said he would be a “much different person” as president.
“I would be very enthusiastic, like I am right now, toward the country. We need spirit. We need a cheerleader,” he said.