Trump: Jewish Americans Who Vote For Democrats Are Either Ignorant Or Disloyal

President Trump just tossed a hand grenade into the firestorm that American politics.

In response to yet more arguments over his attacks on Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, the President suggested today that Jewish Americans who vote for Democrats are disloyal:

President Trump said Tuesday that Jewish people who vote for Democrats are either ignorant or disloyal as he railed against two congresswomen who have been critical of the U.S.-Israel alliance.

“I think Jewish people that vote for a Democrat — I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty,” Trump told reporters during an Oval Office meeting with the president of Romania.

Trump and the GOP have sought to win over Jewish voters from the Democratic Party by criticizing statements by Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), the first two Muslim women elected to Congress. Both have criticized Israel’s government.

Trump last week urged Israel to block Tlaib and Omar from visiting the country, saying in a tweet that allowing the visit would show “great weakness.” An hour after Trump’s tweet, Israel denied the congresswomen entry. 

But in stating that Jewish people who voted for Democrats were disloyal, Trump appeared to step into the same verbal quagmire about Jewish loyalty to the Israeli state that had drawn criticism to Omar earlier this year. 

The Washington Post has more:

It’s not clear how many Jewish people there are in the United States in part because it’s not clear how one should properly define “Jewish.” The Post’s Emily Guskin explored the complexity of the issue last year, estimating that the number of Jewish people in America likely ranged from 5.7 million to 7.2 million — or, under a more expansive definition, up to 12 million.

And on Tuesday, President Trump told reporters that any members of that group who vote for Democrats, which is most of them, either “lack knowledge” or are “disloyal.”

The context for Trump’s comment was a reporter’s question about Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), who were barred from entering Israel earlier this month following comments critical of the nation — and following advocacy for the ban from Trump. Tlaib was eventually granted entry to see her elderly grandmother, but she declined to go because of restrictions Israel placed on a visit.

Trump has repeatedly and expansively described both Omar and Tlaib as anti-Semitic, leveraging controversial comments Omar made about American politicians who support Israel (for which she apologized) and, more broadly, the pair’s criticisms of the country. Trump’s habit, though, is not to present a case for why an opponent is bad but, instead, to paint with a massively broad brush.

“You should see the horrible things that Tlaib has said about Israel,” Trump said, without identifying any such things. “You should see the things that the four of them have said about Israel over the last couple of years,” he continued, referring also to Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.). It would indeed be interesting to see what the four had said, since if they’ve all made repeated anti-Semitic comments, they have not risen to public attention. (Trump’s claimed to have a list of horrible things the four have done in the past but has never presented anything substantive.)

Specifically, Trump was asked about reducing aid to Israel as a result of Omar and Tlaib being barred from entry. Trump feigned shock.

“I can’t believe we’re even having this conversation. Where has the Democratic Party gone?” Trump said. “Where have they gone where they’re defending these two people over the state of Israel? And I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.”

There’s a remarkable irony here. Omar was criticized for a tweet which was interpreted as suggesting that American politicians had conflicting loyalties to the U.S. and Israel. “I should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress,” she wrote in a tweet following criticism for a similar comment she’d made in a speech. This was the brunt of the anti-Semitism charge against her earlier this year.

Trump’s comments are an explicit invocation of the primacy of Israel over other domestic politics. How could any Jewish American be so “disloyal” as to vote Democratic, he says, prompting the obvious question: Disloyal to whom?

Where has the Democratic Party gone, he asks, that it defends elected members of its party over Israel? The answer, of course, is that the party exists to defend its members, even in cases that are more obviously problematic than the scenario that Trump’s referring to with his expansive, overheated rhetoric. Trump expects the Democratic Party to put Israel’s concerns over its own in criticizing Omar’s positions? There’s the aforementioned irony, in case you hadn’t spotted it.

Here’s the video:

It was just yesterday, of course, that I noted the extent to which the relationship between Israel and the United States was becoming a partisan issue. This comment by the President goes far beyond that, though, and essentially questions the loyalty of any Jewish American who doesn’t vote for him and the Republican Party in the future. It’s unclear if Trump meant that they are disloyal to their Jewish faith and heritage, the United States, or Israel. Whatever the answer to that question is, though, doesn’t really matter. In making this argument Trump is essentially making the same anti-Semitic “dual loyalty” argument that Congresswoman Tlaib was forced to apologize for earlier this year.

There is no possible defense of this comment, of course. It’s as bigoted and stupid as the President’s comments about the “squad,” about Congressman Elijah Cummings and the City of Baltimore, and CNN anchor Don Lemon. It’s also accurate to state that this statement is as Anti-Semitic as anything that Congresswoman Tlaib and Omar have said since coming to Washington n January. It not only turns religion, faith, and ethnicity into a partisan issue, but it raises memories of the same “dual loyalty” argument that was made in France during the Dreyfuss affair, in Germany during the rise of the Nazis, or in Russia and the rest of Eastern Europe for centuries. If Trump thought that a statement like this would cause Jewish Americans to rally to the Republican Party he’s likely to find that he’s mistaken and that this is will likely reinforce the extent to which that particular voting block has been loyal to the Democratic Patty for decades now. It is offensive, it is un-Presidential, and itis un-American. It’s also classic Trump, and that’s just pathetic.

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, Israel, Politicians, Religion, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. An Interested Party says:

    Any non-millionaire that votes for Republicans is an idiot…and anyone who supports the trash in the White House and/or Moscow Mitch is okay with treason…

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  2. Kathy says:

    Says the man who operates concentration camps, and has called neo-nazis “fine people.”

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  3. Teve says:

    Just a heads up, party at Teve’s place, Nov 3rd, 2020, official start 10pm, expect to find host pre-gaming, and stop complaining about the Burnett’s, vodka is fuckin vodka have some pineapple juice.

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  4. wr says:

    I am always persuaded when non-Jewish fuckwits try to explain to me that my religion demands that I do what they want or I’m a traitor to my people and heritage.

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  5. Slugger says:

    We Jews have been holding our breath waiting for this announcement. Certainly, we require the guidance, wisdom, and leadership of Mr. Trump. Thanks so much!

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  6. Teve says:

    @wr: they do that because they respect your people and don’t want to see you mess up!

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  7. EddieInCA says:

    Every time I think Trump can’t go lower, he does.

    Slightly off topic. Did you see that Trump criticized Fox News… Well, he actually criticized two BLACK Fox contributors – Juan Williams and Donna Brazile. That’s it. None of the white Democrats who criticize him on the network. Just those two.

    I wonder why.

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  8. SenyorDave says:

    What a putz, a shlemeil. I’ve always assumed that any non-Jew who tells Jews who they should vote for is anti-semitic.
    I found this under a page called “Yiddish curses for Republican jews”, and I think they are totally appropriate for Jewish Trump supporters:
    May your son be elected President, and may you have no idea what you did with his goddamn birth certificate.
    May you feast every day on chopped liver with onions, chicken soup with dumplings, baked carp with horseradish, braised meat with vegetable stew, latkes, and may every bite of it be contaminated with E. Coli, because the government gutted the E.P.A.
    May you have a rare disease and need an operation that only one surgeon in the world, the winner of the Nobel Prize for Medicine, is able to perform. And may he be unable to perform it because he doesn’t take your insurance. And may that Nobel Laureate be your son.
    May the state of Arizona expand their definition of “suspected illegal immigrants” to “anyone who doesn’t hunt.”
    May you be reunited in the world to come with your ancestors, who were all socialist garment workers.

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  9. An Interested Party says:

    I wonder why.

    I think a better question is why would Juan Williams and Donna Brazile debase themselves by appearing on Fox “News”? Did they not see how Alan Colmes (may he rest in peace) was humiliated on a regular basis…

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  10. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @An Interested Party: I think in Juan’s case, it’s because Faux hired him to spite liberals after NPR fired him.


    Faux News Take

    NPR Take

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  11. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    Just a heads up, party at Teve’s place, Nov 3rd, 2020,

    I’ll wait until November 4th. Then we’ll know what’s in order: a celebration or a wake.

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  12. Joe says:

    Don’t we commentariat do a version of this with all sorts of groups who (individuals among them) vote Republican? I totally get that “loyalty” and “religion” are mismatched. “Faith” and “religion” = “loyalty” and “country.” This is why Trump’s statement is ironic in the face of his criticism of Omar. But it’s not a right-wing, Republican criticism. It’s a “people who disagree with me are counterproductive on all levels” criticism. I don’t accept it and try to avoid doling it out.

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  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Never, never, never tell another person how they feel or what they should do about it. A lesson I learned a long time ago, the hard way.

    Not that chump would care.

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  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Joe: You have a point.

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  15. Kylopod says:

    It not only turns religion, faith, and ethnicity into a partisan issue, but it raises memories of the same “dual loyalty” argument that was made in France during the Dreyfuss affair, in Germany during the rise of the Nazis, or in Russia and the rest of Eastern Europe for centuries.

    The thing is, it is an argument that has been used heavily by some Jews themselves. In fact, I’ll bet Trump picked up the argument from some of the Jews around him. Right-wing Jews have engaged in this kind of rhetoric for years, the idea that they’re loyal to the Jewish people, they’re the ones with the Jews’ best interests at heart, while the ignorant masses of American Jews are voting against their own interests and paving the path toward their own destruction. The attitude was exemplified in 2016 when David Horowitz referred to Bill Kristol as a “renegade Jew” for refusing to support Trump. To you and me, this may sound like Horowitz was becoming a Jewish anti-Semite. But from Horowitz’s perspective he was calling out Kristol for betraying his own people; in short, he was calling Kristol an Uncle Tom (or “Uncle Jake,” as it’s sometimes termed among the Tribe).

    Right-wing Jews have descended into their own little world in which not only does everything revolve around Israel, but the rite of passage to being a good Jew involves total capitulation to the Likud party line. It doesn’t even require any efforts to materially improve the lives of Israelis or protect them against Palestinian terrorism. That’s why they can depict Obama, whom Ehud Barak described as “doing in regard to our security more than anything that I can remember in the past,” as a Jew-hating monster, while acting like Trump’s decision to move the location of the Israeli embassy was the greatest gift a US president had ever given to the country.

    Most Jewish Republicans aren’t going to push back against Trump’s comments; indeed, it’s a virtual certainty they’ll be defending Trump and calling him the most pro-Jewish president the world has ever seen. After all, he’s just echoing things that they’ve been saying all along.

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  16. An Interested Party says:

    I think in Juan’s case, it’s because Faux hired him to spite liberals after NPR fired him.

    I wonder if he still thinks it’s worth it…I mean, having to trade barbs with Greg Gutfeld on a regular basis, especially knowing that the deck will always be stacked against him? No thanks…

    It’s a “people who disagree with me are counterproductive on all levels” criticism. I don’t accept it and try to avoid doling it out.

    Even with people who support Trump? I suppose they’re just counterproductive on some levels…

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  17. Gustopher says:

    You would think that after more than two years of this shit on a nearly daily basis that society would have come up with a concise phrase that says:
    – this man is abhorrent
    – I do not expect better of him
    – this is not acceptable
    – this is not debatable
    – if you try to debate it, I’m just going to assume you are as disgusting as he is.
    – I’m done here. I dismiss him as morally disgusting and not worth the distracting anger and outrage.

    It’s a phrase that would get a lot of use, and maybe there’s some thirty syllable German compound word, but nothing in common circulation.

    More and more, I find myself reaching for that, and just coming up with “the man is a pedophile.”

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  18. gVOR08 says:

    I happened to see the statistic that 79% of Jewish American voters voted for a D in the 2018 House election. I suspect the subject remarks by Trump will, if anything, increase that number. But of course Trump’s remarks weren’t really meant for Jews, but for his evangelical base. Base turnout is a valid strategy, but I think Trump is flailing and has gone past the bend. He’s now driving D base turnout.

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  19. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    @An Interested Party:

    I think a better question is why would Juan Williams and Donna Brazile debase themselves by appearing on Fox “News”?

    Juan Williams was fired from the Washington Post in part because of allegations of sexual harassment(In the 90’s). He could not find a job elsewhere in the “Me Too” era. Donna Brazile was in the leadership of the DNC in 2016(When the DNC did everything wrong) and was Al Gore’s campaign manager in 2000. Democrats in general are tired of these literal losers – people like Bob Shrum or Bob Beckel, that never held a leadership position in a winning campaign but that were appearing on the TV the whole time.

    And being a contributor in cable news, even if you are the equivalent to the villains of the WWE, is not a bad job. You don’t get concussions and in practice you are a glorified blog commenter.

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  20. An Interested Party says:

    Speaking of ethnic groups and Trump, did you know that his approval ratings among blacks is “robust”!? BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…this poor fella should have consulted a dictionary while he was writing this article…

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  21. Kylopod says:

    @An Interested Party: To put that in perspective, here’s an article about the GOP’s great opportunities to make inroads with the Jewish vote:

    ARE AMERICAN JEWS BECOMING REPUBLICAN?
    INSIGHTS INTO JEWISH POLITICAL BEHAVIOR

    An overwhelming majority of American Jews – 73 percent – describe themselves as moderate or liberal; 23 percent label themselves as conservative…but there are indications that Jewish support for the Republican Party is on the rise.

    There’s just one problem. This article is from 2003.

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  22. Alfadindo says:

    Ah, irony. Accusing an arab (this includes Palestinians) of being “anti-Semitic” is nonsensical. They might easily be anti-Jewish, but just like the Hebrews, Arabs are Semites (). Shocking, but there it is. There are no quarrels worse than family quarrels.

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  23. rachel says:

    @Kylopod:

    Most Jewish Republicans aren’t going to push back against Trump’s comments; indeed, it’s a virtual certainty they’ll be defending Trump and calling him the most pro-Jewish president the world has ever seen.

    “Most Jewish Republicans” are fools, then. Trump doesn’t control the mob of violent goons that follows him, and the goons always get around to killing the Jews eventually.

    And “eventually” is already here.

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  24. Tyrell says:

    The US supports Israel. I get that. What other countries will support Israel if Iran and Turkey attack?
    I will add that Israel must be held accountable for their attack on the USS Liberty. President Johnson, members of Congress, and top officials swept it away.

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  25. Moosebreath says:

    I’m old enough to remember a Republican President criticizing people for using anti-Semitic stereotypes to attack Jews.

    Oh wait, that was earlier this summer.

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  26. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Trump has now tweeted out this from one of his Cult#45 members:

    “Thank you to Wayne Allyn Root for the very nice words. “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…and the Jewish people in Israel love him….

    ….like he’s the King of Israel. They love him like he is the second coming of God…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! But that’s OK, if he keeps doing what he’s doing, he’s good for…..

    …..all Jews, Blacks, Gays, everyone. And importantly, he’s good for everyone in America who wants a job.” Wow!

    Think about that for a minute…in addition to insulting several million members of the Jewish Faith…the POTUS just issued a statement, giving his express approval to the idea that he is the second coming of god.
    And everyone is ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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  27. mattbernius says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    the POTUS just issued a statement, giving his express approval to the idea that he is the second coming of god.

    Reminder — last I checked, Jews expressly don’t believe in a second coming (at least not in the Christian sense).

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  28. Kylopod says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Wayne Allyn Root is the kind of guy Kayla Moore would claim friendship with to disprove anti-Semitism: he’s a Jew who became an evangelical Christian.

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