President Trump on Tuesday suggested 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?”
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.”
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