President Trump, on a tirade about Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib on Tuesday, claimed that American Jews who voted Democrat were either ill-informed or were exhibiting “great disloyalty.” This is a disgusting comment that reveals that, despite his constant attacks on them, Trump has no idea what actually made Tlaib and Omar’s statements anti-Semitic.
Asked to react to Omar and Tlaib’s recent Israel-bashing press conference, Trump went off on their hatred of Israel. He then wrapped up his comments, saying, “Any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat — I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.”
Was he talking about disloyalty to America? Disloyalty to Trump? Disloyalty to Israel? Disloyalty to Jews? No matter which way one wants to interpret this comment, it’s sickening coming from an American president — all the more bizarre coming as he has been unleashing a barrage of attacks on Tlaib and Omar for anti-Semitism.
Among the litany of anti-Semitic remarks made by Tlaib and Omar, the most horrific involved accusations of dual loyalty (see background here and here). Accusations of dual loyalty have been at the center of anti-Semitic attacks on Jews for centuries. Yet here is Trump throwing out the “disloyalty” charge.
One potential interpretation is that he was suggesting it would be disloyal to Israel to vote Democrat. But American Jews are first and foremost American, not Israeli. Suggesting that Jewish votes should be determined primarily by U.S. policy toward Israel is in fact to suggest divided loyalties.
If he was trying to say Jews would be disloyal to their faith by voting Democrat, he needs to shut right the heck up, because he is in no position to criticize somebody’s relationship to their faith.
As a conservative, I have found it difficult to get behind Trump despite supporting a number of his policies, and a big reason why is the manner in which he speaks about many minority groups. He has up to this point avoided turning his wrath on Jews, but given his history of flipping on people he views as “disloyal,” his comments make me wonder what would happen if, as is most likely, Jews overwhelmingly vote against him despite his pro-Israel policies. Is there a point at which American Jews essentially become the next Anthony Scaramucci?