Trump: Jews voting Democratic uninformed or disloyal
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Tuesday that American Jewish people who vote for Democrats show “either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.”
Trump’s claim triggered a quick uproar from critics who said the Republican president was trading in anti-Semitic stereotypes. It came amid Trump’s ongoing feud with Democratic congresswomen Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, both Muslim.
Trump has closely aligned himself with Israel, including its conservative prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while the Muslim lawmakers have been outspoken critics of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. Tlaib is a U.S.-born Palestinian American, while Omar was born in Somalia.
“Where has the Democratic Party gone? Where have they gone where they are defending these two people over the state of Israel?” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. “I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.”
At Trump’s urging, Israel last week blocked Omar and Tlaib from entering the country. Israel later agreed to a humanitarian visit for Tlaib to visit her grandmother, who lives in the West Bank. Tlaib declined, saying her grandmother had ultimately
urged her not to come under what they considered to be humiliating circumstances.
Trump’s comments were denounced swiftly by several Jewish American organizations.
“It is dangerous and shameful for President Trump to attack the large majority of the American Jewish community as unintelligent and ‘disloyal,'” said Logan Bayroff of the liberal J Street pro-Israel group. A number of groups noted accusations of disloyalty have long been made against Jews, including in Europe during the 1930s.
The Republican Jewish Coalition defended Trump, arguing the president was speaking about people being disloyal to themselves rather than to Israel.