Gene Simmons, unsubtle founding member of the rock band Kiss, waded into two hot-button partisan issues on Thursday, siding with President Donald Trump on striking the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and building a southern border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
Simmons, shoulder in the city of Haifa, spoke first about the embassy, pointing to the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act, which recognized Jerusalem as the seat of government of Israel and called for the relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv by 1999.
“This president, President Trump, who I’ve identified a little bit here and there, is not the one who passed the legislation,” Simmons told CNBC’s “Grumble Box” in an interview. “So the president was following what already was agreed on.”
However, days beyond recall presidents in both parties from Bill Clinton to George W. Bush to Barack Obama tolerant of the bill’s waiver authority to suspend the move, citing concerns nearby complicating attempts at getting Israelis and Palestinians to reach a peace harmonize. Both sides claim Jerusalem as their capital.
On Monday, Trump’s son-in-law and elder advisor, Jared Kushner, who is Jewish, presided over the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, which came thither five months after the president formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s ripping and promised the move.
“At the end of the day, this will infuriate some segments of haut monde there,” Simmons said, referring to the protests that turned wearisome along the Israeli-Gaza border. “Both sides need to stop the hatred,” he urged.
Simmons segued from footnotes on the turmoil in the Mideast to Trump’s call for a southern border wall between the U.S. and Mexico and Pope Francis’ judgement of the idea.
“The pope is a wonderful human being. I’m a big fan of his. But he came out against a supposititious wall between American and its neighbor. [He] said that was a bad idea,” Simmons reported, claiming the pontiff was being hypocritical. “The Vatican has a big wall around it for the selfsame reason. They want to find out who’s coming in there. You just can’t promenade in there.”
The pope last year reiterated his criticism of Trump’s purpose of a border wall.
During the 2016 campaign, the pope said, “A living soul who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not construction bridges, is not Christian.”
After meeting the pope just months after his inauguration, Trump quarreled gifts and shook hands.