Trump doubles down on Jewish controversy

President Trump doubled down Wednesday on his assertion that Democratic voters are being “disloyal” to Jewish people and Israel. 

“In my opinion, if you vote for a Democrat you’re being very disloyal to Jewish people and you’re being very disloyal to Israel. And only weak people would say anything other than that,” Trump told reporters as he left the White House for a speech in Kentucky.

“The Democrats have gone very far away from Israel,” he added. Trump on Tuesday said Jews who vote for Democrats either “lack knowledge” or show “great disloyalty.” The comment came as he railed against Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), who have been critical of the U.S.-Israel alliance. The president questioned how the Democratic Party could defend them and their views on Israel. Jewish groups and Democratic lawmakers swiftly condemned Trump’s remarks as anti-Semitic for questioning the loyalty of Jewish people in the United States. Multiple exit polls after the 2016 election showed that more than 70 percent of Jewish voters voted for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. It wasn’t clear from Trump’s original remarks to whom he believed Jewish Democratic voters were being loyal. Charging Jewish people with disloyalty to the United States or having dual loyalty to Israel is an anti-Semitic trope. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, tweeted Wednesday that Trump was “referring to disloyalty to Israel.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Trump quoted a right-wing conspiracy theorist who said on a Newsmax show that Israeli Jews view the president like the “second coming of God” and that American Jews who don’t support him “don’t even know what they’re doing.” The president has made support for Israel, including moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and recognizing the country’s claim over the Golan Heights, a centerpiece of his foreign policy. But his rhetoric chastising Jewish people over their political leanings is likely to inflame those groups and energize his opponents. “I have been responsible for a lot of great things for Israel,” Trump said as he left the White House.

[The Hill]

Trump: Jews that vote Democrat show ‘lack of knowledge or great disloyalty’

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. 

Omar took heat for remarks that suggested to some that Jewish Americans were more loyal to Israel than the United States.  

Trump’s comments came as he accused Tlaib and Omar of hating Israel and the Jewish people, and he complained that Democrats should also be criticizing them.

“The concept of even talking about this … of cutting off aid to Israel because of two people that hate Israel and hate Jewish people, I can’t believe we’re even having this conversation,” Trump said in the Oval Office.

“Where has the Democratic Party gone?” he continued. “Where have they gone … where they’re defending these two people over the state of Israel?”

Liberal Jewish groups swiftly condemned the president’s Tuesday remarks. 

“At a time when anti-Semitic incidents have increased — due to the president’s emboldening of white nationalism — Trump is repeating an anti-Semitic trope. If this is about Israel, then Trump is repeating a dual loyalty claim, which is a form of anti-Semitism. If this is about Jews being ‘loyal’ to him, then Trump needs a reality check,” said Halie Soifer, executive director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America.

Trump has made unwavering support of Israel one of the pillars of his foreign policy, including moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and officially recognizing Israel’s claim over the disputed Golan Heights territory. 

Tlaib and Omar have supported the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement targeting Israel over its treatment of Palestinians, and have been accused of using anti-Semitic tropes.

Omar drew criticism when she suggested lawmakers support Israel because of money from lobbyists and was rebuked again when she claimed those who back the country harbor “dual loyalty.”

Tlaib, who is Palestinian American, drew backlash from conservatives earlier this year for comments about the Holocaust when she said it gave her a “calming feeling” to think of persecuted Jews finding safe haven in Israel.

The two congresswomen held a joint press conference on Monday denouncing Israel’s decision to bar their entry. Tlaib teared up as she recounted her family’s experiences as Palestinians in the Middle East, while Omar suggested that Congress reconsider the annual U.S. aid allocated to Israel after the international incident.

Trump said Tuesday that he was not involved in the decision to bar Tlaib and Omar entry, but that he supported Israel’s decision and that it would have been “very bad” to have let the congresswomen in. He went on to chastise Tlaib for getting emotional a day earlier, saying he’d seen her be “vicious” while protesting one of his campaign events in 2016.

Trump has hammered Tlaib and Omar with criticism in recent months, seeking to portray them as extreme and cast them as the face of the Democratic Party.

But Trump has stoked accusations of anti-Semitism with his own rhetoric as well.

The president angered Jewish groups and others in 2017 when he said there were “very fine people on both sides” of a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., where marchers carried Nazi banners and chanted anti-Semitic slogans.

Jewish groups called on Trump to more forcefully condemn white nationalism last year after a gunman opened fire in a Pittsburgh synagogue, killing 11 people.

In 2016, Trump tweeted an image of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton with the phrase “Most Corrupt Candidate Ever” inside a Star of David on top of piles of cash. 

Multiple exit polls from the 2016 presidential election showed that more than 70 percent of Jewish Americans voted for Clinton.

[The Hill]

Trump went off on the grandmother of a member of ‘The Squad’ in unhinged Twitter rant

While on vacation at his New Jersey golf club, President Donald Trump took to his favorite social media platform for another attack on a woman of color in Congress.

The commander-in-chief blasted Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) — and her grandmother.

Trump had demanded that Israel deny Tlaib and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) entry into the country. The two are the first two female Muslims elected to Congress.

Isreal initially caved to Trump’s demand, but offered Tlaib limited access to visit her grandmother.

Tlaib responded that she refused to allow Israel to “humiliate me and my family.”

“Visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions meant to humiliate me would break my grandmother’s heart. Silencing me with treatment to make me feel less-than is not what she wants for me – it would kill a piece of me that always stands up against racism and injustice,” Tlaib said.

Trump was livid.

“Rep. Tlaib wrote a letter to Israeli officials desperately wanting to visit her grandmother. Permission was quickly granted, whereupon Tlaib obnoxiously turned the approval down, a complete setup,” Trump claimed, neglecting to mention that he had urged Israel deny approval or that there were onerous conditions placed on the approval.

“The only real winner here is Tlaib’s grandmother. She doesn’t have to see her now!” Trump added.

Trump the claimed Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) was jealous that other members of The Squad were in the spotlight.

“Like it or not, Tlaib and Omar are fast becoming the face of the Democrat Party. Cortez (AOC) is fuming, not happy about this,” Trump claimed, without offering any evidence.

[Raw Story]

Trump encourages Israel to ban Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib

President Trump tweeted Thursday that it would show “great weakness” if Israel were to allow Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) to enter the country during an upcoming congressional delegation visit on Friday.

“It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep.Tlaib to visit. They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds. Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace!”

Why it matters: As Axios’ Jonathan Swan and I previously reported, Trump has privately been telling advisers that he thinks Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should use an anti-boycott law to bar the two freshman congresswomen over their support for the BDS movement. In response to our story, the White House said that Trump didn’t pressure Israel in any way and that Israel can do whatever it wants.

The state of play: Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer had previously said Israel would allow Tlaib and Omar to enter, but Netanyahu — a staunch Trump ally who is facing an election in the fall — is now reconsidering as a result of pressure from the president.

  • According to Israeli officials, Netanyahu is trying to find a solution that will address the pressure from the White House but will not totally bar Omar and Tlaib.
  • As of 5 a.m. EDT, no decision had been made. One of the possibilities floated would be allowing the congresswomen to enter Israel but limiting their movements only to the Palestinian Authority.
  • Another option is to allow them in on humanitarian grounds. An Israeli official told me that if Tlaib filed a humanitarian request to visit her relatives, the Israeli government will consider it favorably.

[Axios]

Update

One hour after Trump’s tweet:

Trump Shares Racist Tucker Carlson Clip Amid White Supremacy Controversy

President Donald Trump retweeted a racist clip of Fox News Host Tucker Carlson, who’s facing backlash for claiming the notion of a white supremacy problem in the U.S. is “a hoax” created by the left and the media.

The video ― created by The Daily Caller, a conservative news site that Carlson co-founded ― features the Fox host discussing and questioning the legitimacy of Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-Minn.) prior marriage, immigration status and name. Omar, an American citizen, was born in Somalia and immigrated to the U.S. as a child.

The “sham marriage” that Carlson refers to is a popular right-wing conspiracy theory that Omar married her brother in order to bypass U.S. immigration laws. There is no evidence that indicates this is the case, and the theory originated from an anonymous internet forum post in 2016. 

Omar has denied the claim and provided a timeline of her marital history. In 2018, she showed a reporter from the Minneapolis Star Tribune images of her father’s immigration documents, which did not list her former husband among his children.

But this is not the first time that the president has drawn attention to the unsubstantiated theory.

“Well, there is a lot of talk about the fact that she was married to her brother,” Trump told reporters last month, before adding: “I know nothing about it.”

Trump has a history of engaging in or promoting racist attacks that question the legitimacy of the congresswoman’s status as an American. He has claimed that Omar hates America and said that she, alongside three other progressive Democratic congresswomen, should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

Carlson currently faces public backlash for claiming that white supremacy is not a threat in America just days after a shooter killed 22 people and injured dozens more at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. The shooter reportedly penned a racist, anti-immigrant manifesto before driving nine hours to the largely Hispanic border town.

“This is a hoax, just like the Russia hoax,” Carlson said on Tuesday of the notion that white supremacy was a major threat in the U.S. “It’s a conspiracy theory used to divide the country and keep a hold on power. That’s exactly what’s going on.”

Fox News and Carlson have lost several advertisers, including Long John Silver’s, Nestlé and HelloFresh, in the aftermath of his claim.

When the president was asked on Wednesday if he was concerned about the rising threat of white supremacy, he told reporters he was concerned about all hate groups, “whether it’s white supremacy, whether it’s any other kind of supremacy.”

[Huffington Post]

Trump Attacks Ohio Senator After Leaving Visit to Dayton Shooting Victims: ‘Failed Presidential Candidate (0%)’

Shortly after departing Dayton, OH after visiting victims of Sunday’s mass shooting, President Donald Trump attacked the city’s mayor and one of Ohio’s senators.

In a pair of tweets while en route to El Paso, the president ripped Sen. Sherrod Brown(D-OH) and Dayton mayor Nan Whaley for comments they made in a news conference following the president’s visit Wednesday afternoon.

“Just left Dayton, Ohio, where I met with the Victims & families, Law Enforcement, Medical Staff & First Responders,” Trump wrote. It was a warm & wonderful visit. Tremendous enthusiasm & even Love. Then I saw failed Presidential Candidate (0%) Sherrod Brown & Mayor Whaley totally … misrepresenting what took place inside of the hospital. Their news conference after I left for El Paso was a fraud. It bore no resemblance to what took place with those incredible people that I was so lucky to meet and spend time with. They were all amazing!”

In the news conference, Brown (who never officially declared himself a candidate for the presidency) said this when asked why he reversed course on taking part in Trump’s visit to Dayton, after originally balking.

“I didn’t want to in any way encourage the president’s racist talk and divisive talk,” Brown said. “I came because Mayor Whaley asked me to come.”

Whaley was critical of Washington at large, talking about what she views as the dim prospect of gun control legislation being enacted.

“I’m not holding my breath,” she said.

[Mediaite]

Trump responds to reports of Cummings’s Baltimore home being robbed: ‘Too bad!’

President Trump responded early Friday to reports that Rep. Elijah Cummings’s (D-Md.) Baltimore home was broken into, tweeting that the reported incident was “really bad news” and “too bad!”

“Really bad news! The Baltimore house of Elijah Cummings was robbed. Too bad!” Trump tweeted.

Trump’s early morning remark came just days after he sent more than a dozen tweets criticizing the House Oversight and Reform Committee chairman, accusing Cummings of being a “brutal bully” and saying his district, which includes parts of West Baltimore, was “rat and rodent infested” and a “very dangerous & filthy place” where “no human being would want to live.”

His attack on the longtime Democratic lawmaker was seen as the latest in a line of statements aimed at minority members of Congress, which some Democrats have denounced as racist.

Trump has insisted on multiple occasions that he is the “least racist person anywhere in the world.” 

Cummings has spoken out against Trump repeatedly on various issues surrounding his administration and chairs a committee that has pursued aggressive investigations into the Trump administration.

The burglary, which police said occurred early Saturday morning, reportedly happened just hours before the president’s initial tweet about Cummings.

“At this time, it is unknown if any property was taken from the location,” a spokesman for Baltimore police told news outlets on Thursday.

[The Hill]

Donald Trump Accused of racism, Then blasts black congressman as racist

Facing growing accusations of racism for his incendiary tweets, President Donald Trump lashed out at his critics Monday and sought to deflect the criticism by labeling a leading black congressman as himself racist.

In the latest rhetorical shot at lawmakers of color, Trump said his weekend comments referring to Rep. Elijah Cummings’ majority-black Baltimore district as a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” where “no human being would want to live” were not racist. Instead, Trump argued, “if racist Elijah Cummings would focus more of his energy on helping the good people of his district, and Baltimore itself, perhaps progress could be made in fixing the mess.”

“His radical ‘oversight’ is a joke!” Trump tweeted Sunday.

After a weekend of attacks on Cummings, the son of former sharecroppers who rose to become the powerful chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Trump expanded his attacks Monday to include a prominent Cummings defender, the Rev. Al Sharpton, who was traveling to Baltimore to hold a press conference in condemnation of the president.

“Al is a con man, a troublemaker, always looking for a score,” Trump tweeted ahead of the press conference, adding that the civil rights activist and MSNBC host “Hates Whites & Cops!”

Trump appeared to dig a deeper hole even as a top White House aide sought to dismiss the controversy by describing Trump’s comments as hyperbole. Two weeks ago, Trump caused a nationwide uproar with racist tweets directed at four Democratic congresswomen of color as he looked to stoke racial divisions for political gain heading into the 2020 election.

Trump noted that Democratic presidential contender and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders had “recently equated” parts of Baltimore to a “third world country” in 2015 comments.

“I assume that Bernie must now be labeled a Racist, just as a Republican would if he used that term and standard,” Trump tweeted Monday.

Sanders tweeted back that “Trump’s lies and racism never end. While I have been fighting to lift the people of Baltimore and elsewhere out of poverty with good paying jobs, housing and health care, he has been attacking workers and the poor.”

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, on Monday called the president’s comments “just outrageous and inappropriate.” Hogan, the new chairman of the National Governors Association, said he recently gave an address at the NGA about the angry and divisive politics that “are literally tearing America apart.”

“I think enough is enough,” Hogan said on the C4 Radio Show in Baltimore. “I mean, people are just completely fed up with this kind of nonsense, and why are we not focused on solving the problems and getting to work instead of who’s tweeting what, and who’s calling who what kind of names. I mean, it’s just absurd.”

Michael Steele, the state’s former lieutenant governor who went on to serve as the national chairman of the Republican National Committee, said it was “reprehensible to talk about the city the way” Trump did, but he hoped the attention would elevate the conversation about how to help urban areas, and he invited the president to be a part of the conversation.

“Put down the cellphone and the tweeting and come walk the streets in this community so that you can see firsthand the good and the difficult that needs to be addressed, and let’s do it together,” Steele told the radio show.

Speaking in television interviews on Sunday, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said Trump was reacting in frustration to the Democrats’ unrelenting investigations and talk of impeachment. He said Trump swung hard at Cummings and his Baltimore district because he believes such Capitol Hill critics are neglecting serious problems back home in their zeal to unfairly undermine his presidency.

“I understand that everything that Donald Trump says is offensive to some people,” Mulvaney said. But he added: “The president is pushing back against what he sees as wrong. It’s how he’s done it in the past, and he’ll continue to do it in the future.”

Mulvaney, a former congressman, said he understood why some people could perceive Trump’s words as racist.

Mulvaney said Trump’s words were exaggerated for effect — “Does the president speak hyperbolically? Absolutely” — and meant to draw attention to Democratic-backed investigations of the Republican president and his team in Washington.

He asserted that Trump’s barbs were a reaction to what the president considered to be inaccurate statements by Cummings about conditions in which children are being held in detention at the U.S.-Mexico border.

At a hearing last week, Cummings accused a top administration official of wrongly calling reports of filthy, overcrowded border facilities “unsubstantiated.”

“When the president hears lies like that, he’s going to fight back,” Mulvaney said.

The president has tried to put racial polarization at the center of his appeal to his base of voters, tapping into anxieties about demographic and cultural changes.

Cummings is leading multiple investigations of the president’s governmental dealings. In his direct response to Trump on Twitter, Cummings said: “Mr. President, I go home to my district daily. Each morning, I wake up, and I go and fight for my neighbors. It is my constitutional duty to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch. But, it is my moral duty to fight for my constituents.”

Cummings has also drawn the president’s ire for investigations touching on his family members serving in the White House. His committee voted along party lines Thursday to authorize subpoenas for personal emails and texts used for official business by top White House aides, including Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner.

Earlier this month, Trump drew bipartisan condemnation following his call for Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan to get out of the U.S. “right now.” He said that if the lawmakers “hate our country,” they can go back to their “broken and crime-infested” countries.

All four lawmakers of color are American citizens and three of the four were born in the U.S.

[Associated Press]

Trump bashes Mueller for ‘ineptitude,’ slams ‘sick’ Democrats backing impeachment

President Trump on Saturday criticized renewed calls for impeachment among some Democrats following former special counsel Robert Mueller‘s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee this week. 

“The Dems are now coming out of shock from the terrible Mueller performance, and are starting to spin impeachment all over again,” Trump tweeted. “How sick & disgusting and bad for our Country are they. What they are doing is so wrong, but they do it anyway. Dems have become the do nothing Party!”

The president also bashed Mueller’s “display of ineptitude & incompetence.”

After the former special counsel’s Wednesday testimony, some Democrats joined calls for an impeachment inquiry into President Trump, and others doubled down on past calls.

Democratic Reps. Lisa Blunt Rochester (Del.), Katherine Clark (Mass.), Peter DeFazio (Ore.), John Garamendi (Calif.), Annie Kuster (N.H.), Mike Levin (Calif.) and Lori Trahan (Mass.) signaled their support for impeachment after the testimony. A total of 99 House Democrats have indicated support for an inquiry. 

Other Democrats, such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, continued to not push for an inquiry

“Whatever decision we make in that regard would have to be done with our strongest possible hand, and we still have some outstanding matters in the courts,” Pelosi said at a press conference after the hearing. 

Mueller in his testimony reiterated that his team did not “reach a determination as to whether the president committed a crime” but said that Trump could be charged with obstruction of justice after he leaves office. 

[The Hill]

Trump calls Cummings’ district a ‘disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess’

President Donald Trump lashed out against House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., on Saturday, saying his Baltimore district was “far worse” than the southern border.

The attack came days after the House Oversight Committee voted to subpoena personal emails and texts of top White House aides, including Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner.

Trump did not refer to the committee’s decision and instead attacked the civil rights icon.

“Why is so much money sent to the Elijah Cummings district when it is considered the worst run and most dangerous anywhere in the United States,” Trump wrote. “Where is all this money going? How much is stolen? Investigate this corrupt mess immediately!”

“The Border is clean, efficient and well run, just very crowded,” Trump said, adding that Cummings’ district is “a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”

Cummings responded via Twitter.

“We have rats all over the country,” said Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young. “We have two-legged rats.”

City Council President Brandon Scott, who was joined by all four women on the council, implored the president to better fund federal programs under the Department of Housing and Urban Development that he says would improve life in Baltimore.

“Stop tweeting,” he said, “let’s start working.”

On Thursday, Cummings said the committee has obtained “direct evidence” that Ivanka Trump, Kushner and other top aides were using personal accounts for official business in violation of federal law and White House policy.

[NBC News]

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