Trump: US Jews Who Vote for Democrats Guilty of ‘Total Lack of Knowledge or Great Disloyalty’
US President Donald Trump stirred another hornet’s nest on Tuesday afternoon by accusing American Jews who vote for the Democratic Party of showing “ignorance” and “disloyalty.”
Speaking after a meeting in the Oval Office with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, Trump made his comment while taking aim at Democratic Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, whose planned political tour of the West Bank last week was called off by the Israeli authorities shortly after a tweet from Trump urging the Israelis to cancel the visit.
“I think Jewish people that vote for a Democrat — I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty,” Trump told reporters during an exchange about Tlaib.
Trump’s observation came while he himself accused Tlaib and her House colleague Ilhan Omar (D-MN) of pushing hatred towards Israel and the Jewish people. At a press conference on Monday, Tlaib wept publicly as she spoke about her family in the West Bank, while Omar urged an end to US aid and assistance to the Jewish state — a stance that infuriated Trump.
“The concept of even talking about this … of cutting off aid to Israel because of two people that hate Israel and hate Jewish people, I can’t believe we’re even having this conversation,” Trump said.
“Where has the Democratic Party gone?” he continued. “Where have they gone … where they’re defending these two people over the State of Israel?”
Trump did not specify to what or whom American Jews were showing “disloyalty” in voting for the Democrats. In the 2016 US presidential election, a solid 71 percent of US Jews voted for Trump’s Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton — a figure that was consistent with American Jewish voting patterns for the past century.
Several Jewish organizations and social media pundits reacted angrily to Trump’s assertion, with many emphasizing that charging Jews with disloyalty as a collective has long been a favored trope of antisemites on right and left.
Enough, Mr. President. American Jews – like all Americans – have a range of political views. Your assessment of their knowledge or loyalty, based on their party preference, is divisive, disrespectful, and unwelcome. Please stop.https://t.co/6yjlz09KB9
— AJC (@AJCGlobal) August 20, 2019
The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) meanwhile offered a full-throated endorsement of Trump’s remarks.
President Trump is right, it shows a great deal of disloyalty to oneself to defend a party that protects/emboldens people that hate you for your religion. The @GOP, when rarely confronted w/anti-Semitism of elected members always acts swiftly and decisively to punish and remove. https://t.co/mEBgd84qkf
— RJC (@RJC) August 20, 2019
One veteran Jewish Democrat told The Algemeiner that Trump was playing with fire.
“Jews have had a long history of being in countries where we are accused of being disloyal. These sort of attacks are dangerous, reckless, and wrong,” Aaron Keyak — former head of the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) — said in an email. “Just because President Trump is deeply unpopular in our community is no reason to slander us with echoes of some of the most insidious attacks against our people. We’ve seen where this road has led before.”