February 26, 2020

Trump Defends ‘Disloyalty’ Remarks, Says Jews Who Vote Democrat Are ‘Disloyal’ to Israel

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the AMVETS (American Veterans) National Convention in Louisville, Kentucky. U.S., August 21, 2019. REUTERS/Bryan Woolston

President Donald Trump doubled down on his “disloyalty” remarks on Aug. 21, telling reporters that he thought that Jews who vote for Democrats are “disloyal” to Israel.

A reporter asked Trump in the White House lawn if he thinks Democrat Jews aren’t loyal to Israel, Trump responded, “Oh I say so, yeah.” The reporter then asked Trump is that was an anti-Semitic sentiment, prompting Trump to reply, “It’s only anti-Semitic in your head.”

He added that Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) “are so bad for Israel. They are so bad for Jewish people. You take a look at the horrible anti-Semitic statements that they made, you take a look at what they want to do Israel, take a look at the fact that they want aid – all of the aid, almost $4 billion – all of the aid cut from Israel… the Democrats, they have to own it.”

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted, “.@POTUS made it clear he thinks Jews have a dual loyalty to Israel. This #antiSemitic trope has been used to persecute Jews for centuries & it’s unacceptable to promote it. He should apologize immediately.”

American Jewish Committee CEO David Harris similarly tweeted, “Dear @POTUS, Please stop. American Jews are [American] citizens, period. Why are you raising issues about loyalties? This is toxic & has a very dark history. Many of us care deeply about Israel’s well-being. But that’s a far cry from suggesting allegiance to another nation.”

Earlier in the day, Trump tweeted out a comment from conservative talk show host Wayne Allyn Root saying that “the Jewish people in Israel love [Trump] like’s the King of Israel.”

Simon Wiesenthal Center Founder and Dean Rabbi Marvin Hier and Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action Agenda Rabbi Abraham Cooper said in an Aug. 21 statement, “We believe that since 1948 the overwhelming majority of American Jews, irrespective of party affiliation, unequivocally support the State of Israel. We also affirm that this bipartisan support is absolutely essential to the future well being and security of the Jewish State. To say otherwise, and depend only on one party, particularly in these turbulent times of increased hate and anti-Semitism, only weakens and divides the most important Jewish community in the Diaspora.”