Major Garrett GRILLS Earnest: Does Obama View Netanyahu In Same Light As Putin? [VIDEO]

Al Weaver Reporter
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CBS’s Major Garrett took White House press secretary Josh Earnest to task Friday, asking him if President Barack Obama views Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin in the same light.

The questioning, which seemed to catch Earnest slightly off guard, came after Obama referred to his “business-like relationship” with Netanyahu, the same phrasing he used to describe his relationship with the Russian President in June, 2014.

“On Tuesday, the president described his relationship with Benjamin Netanyahu as business-like. Did he mean that? Did he misspeak?” Garrett asked during Friday’s White House briefing.

“Not that I’m aware of,” Earnest told Garrett.

“Only reason I ask is the person he describes a business-like relationship with is Vladimir Putin,” Garrett said flatly. “And I’m seriously asking if the president views Benjamin Netanyahu in the same light that he views Vladimir Putin?

“Well, I’m not going to be in a position to try to dissect the relationship between the leaders of the United States and Israel,” Earnest told the CBS reporter, telling him further that the relationship between the U.S. and Israel is more important than the relationship between two leaders at any given time.

“Well, I’m just using the president’s own words,” Garrett shot back. “You often admonish us to take the president’s words seriously and pay careful attention to them.”

“And that’s why I asked you the question, because his relationship with Putin has been strained, is strained and is colored by an assessment of what Russia has done on the world stage,” Garrett continued. “And for the first time Tuesday, he used the same phraseology to describe the reelected Prime Minister of Israel. So I’m just asking you if he equates the two, views them the same, views the relationship the same because those are his words, not mine.”

Earnest continued to duck the question posed by Garrett. He went on to touch on the differences between the U.S.’s relations with Israel and Russia, respectively, telling Garrett that the president’s goal, no matter who he’s dealing with, is to “advance the interests of the United States.”

Al Weaver