Trump Accuses US Jews Who Vote for Democrats of Being ‘Very Disloyal’ to Israel
US President Donald Trump on Wednesday offered some clarification but no remorse for his earlier comments accusing American Jews who vote for the Democratic Party of showing “total ignorance” and “disloyalty.”
Speaking to reporters on the White House South Lawn, the president was asked to specify to whom or what American Jews were being disloyal. “In my opinion, you vote for a Democrat, you’re being very disloyal to Jewish people and very disloyal to Israel,” Trump said. On Tuesday, Trump had asserted that Jews who voted for Democratic candidates were showing “either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.”
After several days of verbal sparring with progressive Democratic Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib (MI) and Ilhan Omar (MN) — 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 cancellation of the visit — Trump on Wednesday repeated his accusation that the Democratic Party as a whole was now hostile to Israel.
“In my opinion, the Democrats have gone very far away from Israel, I cannot understand how they can do that,” Trump said. “They don’t want to fund Israel. They want to take away foreign aid to Israel. They want to do a lot of bad things to Israel.”
On a day when he also accused Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen of being “nasty” and derided Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell as akin to “a golfer who can’t putt,” Trump was in similarly combative mood over the negative reaction to his comments about Jews and the Democratic Party. Among his early posts on Twitter was a note of thanks to Wayne Allyn Root, a populist right-wing commentator, for his “very nice words” about Trump’s supposedly messianic status in Israel.
“President Trump is the greatest President for Jews and for Israel in the history of the world, not just America, he is the best President for Israel in the history of the world…” Trump quoted Root as saying.
“The Jewish people in Israel love him like he’s the King of Israel,” the quote from Root continued. “They love him like he is the second coming of God.”
Trump went on to approvingly include Root’s frustrated assessment of the political mood of American Jews: “But American Jews don’t know him or like him. They don’t even know what they’re doing or saying anymore. It makes no sense!”
In the 2016 US presidential election, a solid 71 percent of US Jews voted for Trump’s Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton — a figure entirely consistent with American Jewish voting patterns and party loyalties for the past century.
“We’ve woken up in a situation where a guy who wants us to believe that he’s our friend legitimizes the credibility of the most pernicious, hideous, constant antisemitic stereotype in our history: ‘You can’t trust the Jews,'” Abraham Foxman — the national director emeritus of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) — told The Algemeiner on Wednesday. “It’s outrageous, it’s dangerous, and I don’t know who can get him to understand.”
When it came to Trump’s depiction of American Jews as a politically-hostile bloc, Foxman observed that “a part of antisemitism is seeing Jews not as individuals, but as stereotypes.”
He continued: “Any construct that he [Trump] sets up is by definition a bigoted one, because it’s looking at the subjects as ‘Jews,’ and not as individuals.”
Many US Jewish organizations responded to Trump by pointing out that Jews did not constitute a homogenous voting bloc, and that Israel had traditionally been a bipartisan issue that united Republicans and Democrats in support.
“America is better with a two-party system,” Rabbi Marvin Hier — dean of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) — told The Algemeiner. “The greatest danger for Jews is if we have only one party.”
In a statement released earlier on Wednesday, the SWC pointed out that it was “Democratic President Jimmy Carter who presided over the Camp David Accords and Republican President Ronald Reagan who helped open the gates of freedom for Soviet Jewry.
The statement went on to include Trump in the pantheon of pro-Israel American presidents. “It was Democratic President Harry Truman that made the historic decision that the US would recognize the State of Israel and Republican President Donald Trump who moved the US Embassy to Jerusalem,” the SWC said.
Hier — who recited the traditional Jewish blessing at Trump’s inauguration in January 2017 — told The Algemeiner bluntly, “Without a two-party system, we’re finished.”
He added: “People should not have to think alike. A democracy needs different points of view, and people are free to adopt different points of view.”
The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) continued its defense of Trump on Wednesday, saying that in portraying the Democratic Party as an adversary of Israel, the president had merely been “pointing out the obvious.”
“We take the President seriously, not literally,” the RJC declared on Twitter. “President Trump is pointing out the obvious: for those who care about Israel, the position of many elected Democrats has become anti-Israel.”