The Democratic Party now dislikes Jews and Israel, according to Donald Trump.
The president made the comments to reporters camped on the White House lawn as he departed Friday morning to tour tornado-damaged areas of Alabama before flying to Florida for a weekend at his exclusive private club.
Trump also told reporters he thought the vote Thursday afternoon by the House of Representatives on a resolution condemning all forms of bigotry was “disgraceful,” adding that “the Democrats have become an anti-Israel party, they’ve become an anti-Jewish party, and I thought that vote was a disgrace, and so does every other politician if you get an honest answer.”
Trump’s comments fit in with the justifications nearly two dozen Republicans are giving for having voted against the resolution. The emerging line is that the resolution did not explicitly call out Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) for what they perceived as her anti-Semitic comments. Rather, it was a broad resolution condemning hate and bigotry against Jews and Muslims in general.
These justifications for voting against the resolution really give the game away. They indicate that Republicans are more concerned with taking a piece out of the hide of a specific political opponent instead of condemning bigotry against religious minorities who have seen a rise in hate crimes directed at them since Trump’s election. There is no animating principle here beyond “We would like to own the libs by tying them to Omar.” Instead the Democrats passed a resolution condemning the type of bigotry expressed by the white supremacists who have been energized by Donald Trump’s assent to the presidency.
In fact, the resolution specifically mentioned the Charlottesville riots of 2017, when white supremacists whose leaders had expressed support for Trump marched in the Virginia city while chanting “Jews will not replace us!” The president later praised the marchers, saying some in the crowd were “very fine people.”
In the president’s mind, and those of two dozen other Republicans, condemning that march somehow makes the Democrats anti-Jewish.
Trump’s comments also conflate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, a particularly maddening habit for too many people. Some of the most fervent supporters of Israel and its current hard-right government in the U.S. are the evangelical Christians who make up much of Trump’s voting base. Vast numbers of America’s Jews are not unquestioning supporters of Israel’s current leader, Bibi Netanyahu, and are very strongly opposed to the country’s continuing occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, along with its repression of its Palestinian citizens.
Trump does not have the ability to grasp the nuances of these positions. Hence his comments this morning.
Watch video of Trump’s comments up top, via CNN.