Donald Trump is the ‘worst perpetrator of purveying anti-Semitism,’ Wasserman Schultz says
Trump continues to show his lies and hate.
Wasserman Schultz said it is Trump who has “repeatedly and intentionally” trafficked in anti-Semitic tropes, both as a candidate and since becoming president.
“He is the worst perpetrator of purveying anti-Semitism,” she said in an interview. “The president continues to use dog whistles and train whistles to perpetuate anti-Semitism.”
Wasserman Schultz continued: “He is a hypocrite. He has perpetuated anti-Semitism himself, and now what he is doing is even worse. He is, instead of trying to use the platform that he has to heal the situation, and calm the waters and bring people together, he’s dangerously weaponizing anti-Semitism as a political bludgeon, and that jeopardizes Jewish lives.”
The results of anti-Semitic words translating into action, she said, can be seen in the October 2018 massacre that killed 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue Pittsburgh.
Anti-Semitic comments by prominent political figures have erupted recently as a newly divisive issue. Trump and Republicans have seized on comments by U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn, in which she’s said American politicians’ support for Israel is motivated by money and accused Jewish people of having dual loyalties.
The political website Axios reported that several people attending a Republican Party event at the president’s private club in Palm Beach on Friday night said Trump referred to Omar and declared, “The Democrats hate Jewish people.”
Axios also reported that Trump said he “didn't understand how any Jew could vote for a Democrat these days,” talked about all he’s done for Israel, and said if he could run for prime minister of the Jewish state he’d be at 98 percent in the polls.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders declined to answer questions Monday about whether the president believes Democrats hate Jews. She said the question should be posed to Democrats. “I am not going to comment on a potentially leaked audio.”
Wasserman Schultz, a Democrat who represents parts of Broward and Miami-Dade counties, is the first Jewish woman from Florida elected to Congress. She’s a former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee; she and Trump have been sharply critical of each other in the past.
On Monday, she said Trump has contributed to anti-Jewish sentiment. “I would argue that the fact that we have been engaged in a very dangerous and difficult environment to be a Jew in America today was caused by President Donald Trump himself.”
Wasserman Schultz pointed to several examples:
— As a candidate, Trump retweeted an image of Hillary Clinton with a backdrop of money and what looked to many like a Jewish Star of David, a suggesting “Jews were trying to control the election by buying it.”
— Also as a candidate, Trump suggested that Republican Jewish Coalition audience members were good at deal-making and money because they were Jewish.
— As president, after white supremacists rallying in Charlottesville, Va., in August 2017, chanted “Jews will not replace us,” Trump said there were “fine people” on both sides.
Also on Monday, U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings issued a statement condemning Trump’s reported comments at Mar-a-Lago. “The president has again invoked racist and insulting tropes [and] politicized anti-Semitism,” he said.