It shouldn't be a surprise that Trump's anti-Semitic rhetoric and behavior doesn't appeal to Jewish voters.
The hosts of the pro-Trump show "Fox & Friends" expressed confusion and disappointment on Tuesday as they discussed Trump's weak standing among Jewish voters.
The discussion came up as part of Fox News' coverage of Israel's decision to grant Trump's request that Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) be barred from entering the country.
Co-host Ainsley Earhardt noted that evangelical voters backed Trump in 2016 "because of his pro-Israeli stance," adding, "It's important for most Christians around the world, for us to support Israel."
"Stunningly," co-host Brian Kilmeade noted, "the majority of the American Jewish support goes to Democratic candidates. President Trump only got 24%."
Exit polls from the 2016 election, which Kilmeade appeared to be referencing, showed Hillary Clinton massively outperforming Trump with Jewish voters. She received 71% of the Jewish vote, in line with strong and consistent support for the Democratic Party by Jewish voters over the last five presidential election.
Kilmeade noted his astonishment at Trump's anemic support even though he and former President George W. Bush "have been the better ally to Israel."
But while Trump has been closer to the right-wing Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu than President Obama was, Trump's campaign and his time in office have been marked by repeated incidents of hostility toward Jews.
Trump's 2016 campaign received early and vocal support from bigots, who saw him as a willing ally and vehicle for hateful messages.
"The fact that Donald Trump’s doing so well, it proves that I’m winning. I am winning," former Klan leader and current anti-Semite David Duke noted in 2016.
Trump fed into the fervor with actions like tweeting out an image of Hillary Clinton on top of money next to a Jewish Star of David.
The message was echoed in his closing ad of the race, featuring a host of prominent Jewish figures and positioning Trump as the counter to their purported influence.
"Anti-Semitism is no longer an undertone of Trump’s campaign. It’s the melody," noted columnist Dana Milbank.
He started his administration in the same fashion, omitting the Jewish people from a January 2017 announcement commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Trump made his hostility to Jewish people perhaps the clearest in August 2017 when he described pro-Nazi protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, as "very fine people" on the same day one of them killed peace activist Heather Heyer.
That same year, Trump banned Jewish Democrats from attending the White House's annual Chanukah ceremony. While he invited Jewish Republicans, Trump excluded progressive Jewish leaders and activists who have criticized his actions.
After the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh was attacked by a mass shooter in 2018, Trump's takeaway was that he was not being praised enough in the aftermath. Local groups had opposed his presence because of his associations with anti-Semitic sentiment.
Even when addressing Jewish groups, Trump has managed to offend. In April, he told a gathering of Jewish Republicans that Netanyahu is "your prime minister."
Trump, like Fox, has expressed dismay that Jewish support for the Democratic Party has persisted. But polling in May showed only 25% of American Jews identifying as Republicans, while that number was 65% among Democrats.
Republicans have for years lamented their weak support with Jewish voters, even though Jewish voters consistently describe themselves as not only Democratic but liberal. That Jewish voters have not abandoned their preferred party to support someone who regularly insults them should not be surprising to Trump, the GOP, or their enablers at Fox News.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.