1 of 7 | President Donald Trump speaks as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel looks on in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Monday. Photo by Olivier Douliery/UPI | License Photo
March 5 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump said he "may" visit the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem later this year during a meeting Monday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
It was the premier's first visit to the White House since Trump announced the United States would be moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognizing the latter as Israel's capital. The new U.S. Embassy is under construction and is expected to open in May.
When asked by reporters if he plans to attend the opening, Trump said, "I may."
"We're going to have it built very quickly," he said. "We're looking at coming. If I can, I will."
Trump said he expects to spend about a quarter-million dollars on the building's construction.
"They put an order in front of my desk last week for a billion dollars. I said a billion? What's that for? They said, 'We're going to build an embassy.' I said we're not going to spend a billion dollars. We're actually doing it for about $250,000," he said.
Netanyahu praised Trump for the administration's decision to move the embassy.
"This will be remembered by our people through the ages. Others talked about it. You did it," he said.
Trump said the relationship between the United States and Israel has "never been better," and touted the trade relationship with Israel as he faces blowback for tariffs on foreign-made steel and aluminum, sparking fears of a trade war.
"We are very close on trade deals, we are very, very close on military and terrorism and all of the things that we have to work together on. The relationship has never been better," Trump said of Israel.
He also said the United States is working "very hard" on a peace deal between the Israelis and Palestinians.
"It would be a great achievement -- and even from a humanitarian standpoint -- what better if we could make peace between Israel and the Palestinians. And I can tell you, we are working very hard on doing that," he said.
"The Palestinians, I think, are wanting to come back to the table. If they don't, you don't have peace. You don't have peace ... and that's a possibility also. I'm not saying it's going to happen."