President Donald Trump has repeated his claim that US voters are being “disloyal” when they back Democrats, expanding on remarks made the previous day, despite criticism from Jewish groups.
“If you vote for a Democrat, you’re being disloyal to Jewish people, and you’re being very disloyal to Israel,” Trump said Wednesday as he left the White House for Louisville, Kentucky.
He also said of Rashida Tlaib and other congresswomen known as The Squad: “They are antisemities, they are against Israel.” Tlaib “had a plan to greatly embarrass Israel,” he added.
On Tuesday, Trump had said at a news conference in the Oval Office that “I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.”
The comments drew immediate criticism from Jewish groups, and critics debated whom Jews were being accused of being disloyal to in the comment.
Jewish leaders expressed concern that Trump was levelling a charge against American Jews of “dual loyalty” to the United States and Israel, a classic antisemitic stereotype.
Jewish groups in statements said Trump’s remarks were “dangerous,” “divisive” and displayed “textbook antisemitism.”
Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl said: “Whatever one thinks of the antics of certain Democrat politicians, to single out Jewish voters and accuse them of the ancient slur of ‘disloyalty’ – when antisemitic violence is on the rise – is reckless.”
She added that his remarks “fly in the face of President Trump’s professed strong stance against anti-Jewish hate,” adding: “American Jews – like British Jews – will vote for candidates from any party that best represent them on the full spectrum of issues, from healthcare and education, to fighting antisemitism.”