September 14, 2019

Sen. Booker: Trump’s Statement about Jewish Disloyalty is ‘Outrageous Stuff Offending All Americans’

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and U.S. Senator and 2020 presidential candidate Cory Booker in Los Angeles on Thursday. Photo by Ryan Torok

Speaking to reporters on Aug. 22 during a visit to Los Angeles, 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) denounced President Donald Trump’s Aug. 20 statement that Jews who vote Democrat lack knowledge or are disloyal.

“I’m running for president to unify this country,” he said. “We are a nation of many religions, many ethnicities, and we are a nation of one purpose, one destiny, one love, and it’s about time we get back to having leaders that show the best of who we are and unite us — not like this guy who is saying outrageous stuff that is offending all Americans.”

Booker made his remarks following a panel on gun violence with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti at at the Crenshaw-area co-working space Vector90. Garcetti also denounced Trump’s comments.

“I think all American Jews are great Americans, even the quarter that votes Republican, unlike me,” said Garcetti, who is of Mexican, Russian Jewish and Italian heritage, and also a Democrat. “I think this is a moment for us to see racism when you hear it, whether it’s starting a campaign calling my other half, Mexican Americans, ‘rapists and murderers,’ or whether it’s now saying Jews who don’t vote for this guy are somehow disloyal. It’s fundamentally wrong, it’s un-Jewish and more importantly, it’s un-American.”

Booker, who isn’t Jewish, even cited the Torah in his remarks, saying, “I have studied Judaism. Jews have a very powerful belief about tikkun olam, healing the world, not dividing it as Donald Trump does. There is a beautiful song sung during the High Holidays that has the line in it, ‘Ki beiti beit tefillah l’chol ha-‘amim,’ ‘May my house be a house of prayer for many nations.’ It’s a very Jewish idea. It’s about bringing people together …in a pluralistic way and showing that strength, justice, kindness and decency comes as a result of that.

Trump, Booker said, “is trying to divide us against ourselves. He is playing into literally what the Russians are trying to do, which is to pit Americans against Americans and have us crumble and fall from within because they know that a house divided cannot stand.”

While many Jewish organizations have denounced Trump’s ‘disloyalty’ remarks, the Republican Jewish Coalition supported the president’s comments.

However, according to the Pew Research Center, Jews have continued to remain largely supportive of Democrats during the course of the Trump presidency, with nearly 80% voting for Democrats in the 2018 mid-term elections.