Trump praised Robert Jeffress, who has said Jews are doomed to hell, at a recent White House Hanukkah event.
Sixteen hours after a mass stabbing at a Hanukkah party in New York — the latest in a series of anti-Semitic attacks — Donald Trump took a break from attacking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to express his sympathies. But his condemnation of the "the evil scourge of anti-Semitism" does not match his own record.
At around 10 p.m. on Saturday evening, a man with a machete stabbed five Jews at a rabbi's home in Rockland County, shouting "I'll get you." Police in nearby New York City are investigating at least nine other anti-Semitic attacks around the annual Jewish festival of lights.
At 2:10 p.m. on Sunday, Trump finally responded. "The anti-Semitic attack in Monsey, New York, on the 7th night of Hanukkah last night is horrific. We must all come together to fight, confront, and eradicate the evil scourge of anti-Semitism," he wrote. "Melania and I wish the victims a quick and full recovery."
But Trump has done little to fight anti-Semitism, honoring anti-Semitic extremists and repeatedly attacking the Jewish community with offensive tropes.
Earlier this month, he hosted a "Hanukkah Reception" at the White House. During his remarks, Trump paid tribute to Robert Jeffress, calling him a "tremendous faith leader" and a "a tremendous man" and inviting him to deliver remarks.
In a 2011 speech, Jeffress attacked Judaism, claiming "you can't be saved being a Jew, you know who said that by the way, the three greatest Jews in the New Testament, Peter, Paul, and Jesus Christ, they all said Judaism won't do it, it's faith in Jesus Christ." The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) condemned Jeffress last year as an "an unrepentant religious bigot who has a history of making hateful comments about Jews, Muslims, Christian and other religions."
Trump's own comments have also repeatedly insulted the Jewish community, suggesting Jews are money-grubbing and loyal to Israel above America.
Jewish groups denounced Trump just this month for "vile and bigoted" comments to the Israeli American Council, suggesting that Jews "had not choice" but to vote for him because rival Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) would "take 100% of your wealth away" with her proposed wealth tax on those with more than $50 million.
In August, Trump claimed American Jews were showing "either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty" by voting for Democratic candidates. "In my opinion," he declared, "if you vote for a Democrat, you're being very disloyal to Jewish people, and you're being very disloyal to Israel. And only weak people would say anything other than that." ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt labeled Trump's "charge of disloyalty or dual loyalty" as anti-Semitic.
Trump also famously praised neo-Nazis as "very fine people" after the deadly Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.