Donald Trump said Tuesday that Jewish Americans who vote for Democratic candidates are acting out of ‘total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty,’ as he launched a new attack on the Muslim-American congresswoman banned from visiting Israel.
Speaking in the Oval Office where he was greeting Romania’s president, Trump doubled down on attacking Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar.
‘I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or a great disloyalty,’ he said.
‘Where has the Democratic Party gone? Where have they gone where they are defending these two people over the state of Israel?,’ he added.
The words appear certain to spark their own anti-Semitism row by appearing to reference the claim that Jewish Americans have dual loyalty to Israel.
One Jewish Democratic strategist, Laura Rosenberger, said on twitter: ‘I’m sure Republicans will have the same outrage at Trump invoking the anti-Semitic disloyalty trope as they did when Ilhan Omar did. Right?’
Oval Office attack: Donald Trump accused any Jewish voter of being guilty of ‘total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty’ if they voted against him- sparking a row over whether he was perpetuating an anti-Semitic trope
Hillary Clinton won the Jewish vote with 71 per cent in the 2016 election and Jewish voters went for Democratic candidates by 79 per cent in the 2018 midterms.
The voting bloc has long favored Democrats. According to Pew Research, Democratic presidential candidates have won the Jewish vote by strong double digits going back to Al Gore in 2000.
The president’s latest outburst came after Trump said he wasn’t convinced by Tlaib’s tears, downplaying her public breakdown as just more ‘craziness.’
He doubled down on his words in his back-and-forth with reporters in the Oval Office.
‘I don’t buy it. I don’t buy it for a second, because I’ve seen her in a very vicious mood at campaign rallies, my campaign rallies before she was a congresswoman,’ he said, referring a video that surfaced of Tlaib – then a practicing attorney – being drug out by security of an August 2016 Trump speech at the Detroit Economic Club.
‘I said who is that?,’ Trump said of the incident. ‘I saw a woman that was violent and vicious and out-of-control.’
He then pivoted to Tlaib’s Monday press conference, where she discussed her decision not to visit her grandmother in the occupied West Bank.
‘All of a sudden, I see this person who is crying because she can’t see her grandmother. She could see her grandmother. They gave her permission to see her grandmother but she grand standed and she didn’t want to do it,’ the president said.
He had mocked her tears earlier in the day.
‘Sorry, I don’t buy Rep. Tlaib’s tears,’ Trump tweeted the morning after Tlaib got emotional during a press conference where she slammed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Natanyahu for banning her from traveling to Israel.
‘I have watched her violence, craziness and, most importantly, WORDS, for far too long. Now tears?’ Trump tweeted in disbelief. ‘She hates Israel and all Jewish people. She is an anti-Semite. She and her 3 friends are the new face of the Democrat Party. Live with it!’
Tlaib held a joint press conference on Monday with Omar. The two women barred from traveling to Israel and Palestinian territories because of their support of a boycott Israel movement.
Donald Trump said Tuesday that he isn’t convinced by Rashida Tlaib’s tears, which she shed during a press conference where she condemned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for banning her from visiting Israel
At least two times during her remarks Monday, which she gave alongside Rep. Ilhan Omar (right), Tlaib got visibly emotional and had to wipe away tears
Both congresswomen, who support Palestinians and have been deemed anti-Semitic by Trump and others, were banned from visiting Israel
Rep. Tlaib’s grandmother Muftia Tlaib lives in the occupied West Bank
During their remarks, made from Omar’s home state of Minnesota, Tlaib, who’s parents are Palestinian, wiped away tears as she condemned Netanyahu for giving into pressure from Trump.
‘I watched as my mother had to go through dehumanizing checkpoints. Even though she was a United States citizen and proud American, I was there when my Sitty was in a terrible accident, and my cousins and I cried so that she could have access to the best hospitals, which were in Jerusalem,’ Tlaib said through tears.
‘Sitty’ means ‘my grandmother’ in Arabic.
Omar and Tlaib had planned to visit Palestinian territories before they were banned from entering the country.
‘That was a decision of Israel,’ Trump said Tuesday. ‘A lot of people were saying that was my decision. That’s a decision of Israel. They could let them in if they want, but I don’t think they want to.’
He added: ‘I don’t blame Israel for doing what they did. I had nothing to do with it, but I don’t blame them for doing what they did.’
Netanyahu announced he would not allow the congresswomen visit on Thursday, about an hour after Trump said it would ‘show great weakness if Israel allowed’ them into the country.
Later officials gave Tlaib permission – on humanitarian grounds – to visit her elderly grandmother. The Michigan congresswoman had written the interior minister asking to be allowed entry for visiting and vowed to respect any restrictions placed on her and not to advocate for the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions Movement that both she and Omar support.
But after permission was granted – with the understanding she would not engage in any boycott activities – Tlaib changed her mind and said she could not visit the area with those restrictions placed on her.
‘When I won, it gave the Palestinian people hope that someone will finally speak the truth about the inhumane conditions. I can’t allow the State of Israel to take away that light by humiliating me & use my love for my sity to bow down to their oppressive & racist policies,’ she said in a statement.
Trump has been in an ongoing feud with Omar and Tlaib and two other minority freshmen congresswomen who call themselves ‘the squad,’ which includes Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley.
Omar has accused Israel of carrying out Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’ against two members of Congress, a reference to the administration’s policy to ban refugees from seven Muslim countries, including her birthplace of Somalia.
‘It is an affront that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, under pressure from President Trump, would deny entry to representatives of the U.S. government. Trump’s Muslim ban is what Israel is implementing, this time against two duly elected Members of Congress,’ Omar said after Netanyahu announced the two would be denied entry.
The two women – who are the first Muslim women elected to Congress – are outspoken supporters of Palestinians.
The duo were preparing to make a trip to the region that included a stop at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam. It sits close to the site of the Second Temple, the holiest site in Judaism, making it a hot spot in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Netanyahu (pictured) announced last week the two congresswomen would be denied entry to the country. ‘Their intent is to hurt Israel and increase its unrest against it,’ Natanyahu said of Tlaib and Omar’s intentions
They had previously planned a trip to visit Palestinian territories, and Tlaib was also planning to visit with her Palestinian grandmother during the trip
They have been vocal supporters of the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions movement, which aims to end international support for Israel because of its policies toward Palestinians and its continued construction on the West Bank.
‘Their intent is to hurt Israel and increase its unrest against it,’ Natanyahu said of Tlaib and Omar’s intentions in his statement banning their visit.
Under Israeli law, backers of the movement BDS movement can be denied entry into the country.
During her remarks on Monday, Tlaib choked up twice.
‘I remember shaking with fear when checkpoints appeared in the small village … tanks and guns everywhere. I remember visiting East Jerusalem with my husband, and him escorted off the bus, although he was a United States citizen just so security forces could harass him,’ she recounted.
‘All I can do, as as a granddaughter of a woman who lives in occupied territory, is by lifting her voice, by exposing the truth the only way I know how,’ she continued, ‘by humanizing the pain of oppression.’
‘She said I’m her dream manifested. I’m her free bird,’ Tlaib said of her 90-year-old grandmother.
‘So why would I come back and be caged and bow down when my election rose her head up high? Gave her dignity for the first time? And so through tears at 3:00 in the morning, we all decided as a family I could not go until I was a free American United States congresswoman coming there,’ Tlaib said.
Tlaib was born in the United States but traces her roots to the Palestinian village of Beit Ur Al-Fauqa in the West Bank. Her grandmother and extended family live in that village.
Tlaib and Omar reposted a cartoon on their Instagram stories over the weekend by Carlos Latuff, who is known for his anti-Semitic cartoons, showing Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu silencing them
Both Tlaib and Omar have faced condemnation from the White House and others – including some Democrats – for comments deemed anti-Semitic.
Omar appeared to respond to her friend and colleagues’ show of emotion when she said: ‘You don’t ever allow people to enjoy your tears.’
‘There is no way we are ever going to allow people to tear us down, to see us cry – you know, out of pain,’ Omar said. ‘To make us feel like our certificate is less than theirs.’
Over the weekend the two drew outrage after reposting a political cartoon on their Instagram stories that depicted them being silenced by Trump and Netanyahu, who had their hands drawn over their mouths.
The cartoonish, Carlos Latuff, is known for his anti-Semitic drawings, including an award he won for a 2006 entry in the Iran Holocaust Cartoon Contest.