As president, Donald Trump took a series of steps he considered to be pro-Israel, though by the Republican's own admission, he didn't necessarily understand his own policies. Trump nevertheless seemed to assume that he was currying favor with Jewish voters, who'd help with his re-election campaign.
He thought wrong: President Joe Biden received more than 75 percent of the Jewish vote in 2020, improving on Hillary Clinton's totals from four years earlier.
Predictably, Trump responded with bitterness and resentment, and started lashing out at those who dared to disappoint him. Over the summer, for example, Trump whined, "Jewish people who live in the United States don't love Israel enough." The former president's proof, of course, was that Jews didn't vote for him in large enough numbers.
The rhetoric was not well received — it's rarely a good idea for politicians to reflect on who and is not a good Jew in their eyes — but the Republican apparently isn't done complaining. CNBC reported:
Former President Donald Trump, in a newly aired interview, told an Israeli journalist that "the Jewish people in the United States either don't like Israel or don't care about Israel."
Trump told Barak Ravid, "There's people in this country that are Jewish no longer love Israel.... I'll tell you, the evangelical Christians love Israel more than the Jews in this country."
In case that weren't quite enough, the former president kept going.
"It used to be that Israel had absolute power over Congress, and today I think it's the exact opposite.... And I think [former President Barack] Obama and Biden did that," he added. "And yet in the election, they still get a lot of votes from the Jewish people. Which tells you that the Jewish people, and I've said this for a long time, the Jewish people in the United States either don't like Israel or don't care about Israel.
For good measure, the former president went on to say, "I mean, you look at The New York Times. The New York Times hates Israel. Hates 'em. And they're Jewish people that run The New York Times, I mean the Sulzberger family." (For the record, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. is not Jewish.)
So to recap, according to Trump, Jews run the nation's largest newspaper, and Israel used to have control over Congress, but now, thanks to Democrats, Jewish voters are hostile toward Israel — unlike him and his evangelical allies.
Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii responded soon after, "This is overtly anti-Semitic and it's disgusting. Every American Jew of every political affiliation must denounce this."
That's more than fair under the circumstances. But as offensive as Trump's ugly rhetoric was, there's nothing surprising about it.
It was two years ago this week when the then-president spoke at the Israeli American Council's national summit, where he suggested Jewish people are primarily focused on wealth, which is why he expected them to support his re-election campaign.
Four months earlier, Trump used some highly provocative rhetoric about Jews and what he expects about their "loyalties."
As we discussed at the time, these were not isolated incidents. Several months into his presidential campaign, for example, Trump spoke to the Republican Jewish Coalition and said, "You're not gonna support me because I don't want your money. You want to control your politicians." He added, "I'm a negotiator — like you folks."
Several months later, the Republican promoted anti-Semitic imagery through social media. In the closing days of the 2016 campaign, Trump again faced accusations of anti-Semitism, claiming Hillary Clinton met "in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty in order to enrich these global financial powers."
In March 2019, at a speech to RNC donors, Trump reportedly said, "The Democrats hate Jewish people." It was ridiculous at the time, and it seems just a little worse now.