On Monday, Trump made his first response to the controversy since his official account tweeted— then deleted — the image Saturday following the uproar over possible anti-Semitic connotations and a website linked to a far-right anti-Semitic movement.
“Dishonest media is trying their absolute best to depict a star in a tweet as the Star of David rather than a Sheriff’s Star, or plain star!” the presumptive Republican presidential candidate tweeted Monday, The Associated Press reported.
The tweet, which bore the words “most corrupt candidate ever” inside a red six-pointed star, later posted a new version with a circle in place of the six-point star.
Abraham Foxman, the director emeritus of the Anti-Defamation League, told CNN that the tweet was “insensitive” but welcomed the campaign’s decision to delete the tweet within a few hours.
“They realized it was edgy and could be abused. I’m not sure the intentions were there but there was certainly a lack of sensitivity,” Foxman said.
A news site, Mic, traced the image’s origins to white supremacists. According to Mic, the image was previously featured on /pol/ — an Internet message board for the alt-right, an amorphous far-right movement that lives mostly online — as early as June 22.
Trump has vowed to be a strongly pro-Israel president and has noted on the campaign trail that his daughter Ivanka, the wife of businessman Jared Kushner, is an Orthodox Jew.
Jewish groups, however, have been critical of what they say is the campaign’s slow response in disavowing followers, including former Ku Klux Klan head David Duke, who have made anti-Semitic comments in defending their candidate.
At a rally in New Hampshire on Thursday, however, Trump shut down a questioner who told the candidate that he’s “opposed to wasting our military in the Middle East on behalf of Zionist Israel.”
Trump told the man: “Israel is a very, very important ally of the United States and we are going to protect them 100 percent — 100 percent. It’s our true friend over there.”
Later, Trump said: “That was a tough question on Israel. That was nasty. Whoa.”