By some estimates, roughly 22% of Jewish voters supported Donald Trump’s candidacy in 2020. The Republican expected a stronger showing, and with the latest reporting from NBC News in mind, it seems the former president is expressing his frustrations in rather provocative ways.
Former President Donald Trump attacked Jews in the U.S. on his Truth Social platform Sunday, writing that they need to “get their act together” and “appreciate” Israel “before it is too late.”
It’s unclear what prompted his missive, but by way of his Twitter-like social media platform, Trump began by insisting that no president “has done more for Israel” than him. Perhaps now is a good time to note while the Republican took a series of steps he considered to be pro-Israel while in office, by his own admission, Trump didn’t necessarily understand his own policies.
The former president went on to argue yesterday that “our wonderful Evangelicals are far more appreciative” of his record than Jews, before boasting that he could “easily” become the Israeli prime minister thanks to the strength of his support among Israeli Jews.
Trump concluded, “U.S. Jews have to get their act together and appreciate what they have in Israel — Before it is too late!”
The Anti-Defamation League’s Jonathan Greenblatt responded soon after, “We don’t need the former president, who curries favor with extremists and antisemites, to lecture us about the US-Israel relationship.... This ‘Jewsplaining’ is insulting and disgusting.”
I was also struck by the reaction from Willamette University historian Seth Cotlar, who wrote, “A leader, appealing to his angry base of ‘Christian Patriots’ and warning American Jews that they better be grateful for what they have ‘before it is too late’ will sound especially chilling to anyone who knows about American fascism in the 1930s.”
But let’s not forget that Trump has taken similar walks down the same ugly road. As we’ve discussed, it was just last year when the former president whined, “Jewish people who live in the United States don’t love Israel enough.” His proof, of course, was that Jews didn’t vote for him in large enough numbers.
Months later, the Republican told an Israeli journalist that “the Jewish people in the United States either don’t like Israel or don’t care about Israel.... I’ll tell you, the evangelical Christians love Israel more than the Jews in this country.” In the same interview, Trump said, “It used to be that Israel had absolute power over Congress, and today I think it’s the exact opposite.”
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.)
In other words, 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.
All of this was, and is, quite jarring, but it’s not unexpected.
It was in 2019 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 expected about their “loyalties.”
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 antisemitic imagery through social media. In the closing days of the 2016 campaign, Trump again faced accusations of antisemitism, 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.”