It certainly seems like an odd way to campaign for votes.
Talking Points Memo recently reported on a speech Trump made to a mostly Jewish crowd, in which he accused Jews of being insufficiently loyal to Israel, and explained that he’d get the support of Jewish voters because Jews would vote to protect their wealth. (Paul Krugman has pointed out that only 17% of Jews voted Republican in the midterms, despite their relative affluence. But Trump wouldn’t know a fact if he fell over one.)
“We have to get the people of our country, of this country, to love Israel more, I have to tell you that. We have to do it,” he said. “We have to get them to love Israel more. Because you have people that are Jewish people, that are great people…they don’t love Israel enough.”
He also told the mostly Jewish audience that they wouldn’t vote for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) for president because, according to him, they want to protect their money from her proposed wealth tax.
Evidently, in what passes for Trump’s mind, American Jews are all rich people displaying insufficient “dual loyalty.” Got it.
This wasn’t a “one off.” Trump has a history of characterizing Jews (and blacks and women and Muslims and…) in highly offensive ways. But in this particular speech, he evidently outdid himself. The Independent also covered the event, quoting Trump’s description of Jews as “brutal killers.”
“A lot of you are in the real estate business because I know you very well; you’re brutal killers. You’re not nice people at all, but you have to vote for me. You have no choice,” Trump told the group, which is funded by Sheldon Adelson, a Las Vegas casino tycoon who’s a big supporter of the president….
The president also said he “doesn’t like” many Jewish people, but warned that the Democrats’ fiscal policies will mean they’ll vote for him.
“Even if you don’t like me — some of you don’t, [and] some of you I don’t like at all actually — you’re going to be my biggest supporters because you’ll be out of business in about 15 minutes if they [the Democrats] get in,” he added.
An organization of Jewish Democrats was among those who responded to the remarks, which it called “deeply offensive,” and identified Donald Trump as the biggest threat facing American Jews today.
“We strongly denounce these vile and bigoted remarks in which the president – once again – used anti-Semitic stereotypes to characterize Jews as driven by money and insufficiently loyal to Israel. He even had the audacity to suggest that Jews ‘have no choice’ but to support him.
“American Jews do have a choice, and they’re not choosing President Trump or the Republican Party, which has been complicit in enacting his hateful agenda. In fact, Jewish support for the GOP has been halved since Trump has been in office, from 33 percent in 2014 to 17 percent in 2018, because Trump’s policies and rhetoric are completely antithetical to Jewish values.
Actually, it can be argued that Trump’s policies, rhetoric and behavior are also antithetical to genuine Christian values, as well as humanist values, Muslim values…
Whatever this and similar diatribes display about Trump’s values or lack thereof, they clearly reveal his intellectual limitations. Trump is simply incapable of understanding complexity or seeing nuance–he is thus incapable of seeing members of “tribes” other than his own as differentiated individuals. All Jews are rich businessmen, all African-Americans are criminals, all Muslims terrorists. All women are meat.
And let’s be honest: those attitudes permeate his base. The Republicans who support him do so because they share his bigotries, not despite them.
Trump may be the least self-aware human on the planet. He clearly has no clue how cringeworthy his utterances are, how laughable his boasts and glaringly obvious his ignorance. Who else would campaign for the votes of a minority group by announcing his belief in bigoted stereotypes that have endangered that group for centuries?
This pathetic, barely literate, emotionally-crippled man would be a proper object of pity if he wasn’t able to do so much damage.
When I was growing up, the recurring question in my extended family–about social change, about political candidates, about pretty much everything–was, “is it good for the Jews?”
If there is clarity about anything these days, it’s this: Trump and his governing cabal are not good for the Jews–or, for that matter, for anyone else.