Amid a wave of criticism for his comment that American Jews who vote Democrat are demonstrating either a “total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty,” Trump doubled down on Wednesday, specifying to the press that when he said they were being “disloyal,” he meant to the Jewish people and to Israel.
Trump first made his much-criticized “disloyalty” comments on Tuesday when blasting the Democratic Party for embracing Reps. Ilhan Omar (MN) and Rashida Tlaib (MI), who have come out in support of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and have repeatedly engaged in anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric. After being banned from traveling to Israel because of their support of BDS, the radical congresswomen are now calling for the U.S. to stop providing aid to Israel, a new effort Trump blasted Tuesday.
“Where has the Democratic Party gone? Where have they gone where they are defending these two people over the state of Israel?” Trump said, referencing Omar and Tlaib. “I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.”
Many on boths side of the aisle, including some Jewish organizations, slammed Trump for the “disloyalty” comment, which echoes the anti-Semitic “dual loyalty” trope often leveled at Jews. In fact, both Omar and Tlaib have used versions of the dual loyalty accusations against American Jewish lawmakers.
Asked by White House press on Wednesday what he meant by the disloyalty remark, Trump emphatically doubled down on the comment.
“[Democrats] want to do a lot of bad things to Israel,” he said in comments reported by the Washington Examiner. “In my opinion, you vote for a Democrat, you’re being very disloyal to Jewish people, and you are being very disloyal to Israel. And only weak people would say anything other than that.”
Earlier in the day, Trump tweeted out a series of posts related to Israel and the radical Democratic congresswomen repeatedly pushing out anti-Israel messages. “Rep Tlaib wants to cut off aid to Israel,” he tweeted Wednesday morning. “This is the new face the of Democrat Party? Read the AOC PLUS 3 statements on their hatred of Jews and Israel. Check out Rep. Omar (the great people of Minnesota won’t stand for this).”
Prior to that tweet, Trump quoted conservative radio host Wayne Allyn Root, who praised Trump as “the greatest President for Jews and for Israel in the history of the world” and said Israelis love him “like he’s the King of Israel.” In the quote, Root also said that American Jews don’t know or like Trump and, thus, “don’t even know what they’re doing or saying anymore.” Trump’s decision to tweet out the quote also prompted strong pushback.
Amid the swirling controversy over Trump’s comments, Omar and Tlaib have continued to trash Israel, falsely accusing the country of being an “apartheid state” and of banning them because they’re Muslims, rather than the real reason: the Israeli law passed in 2017 barring foreign activists promoting the anti-Israel BDS movement from entering the country.