WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Donald Trump called Democrats the “anti-Jewish” party after a week of controversy over a vote condemning anti-Semitism spurred by comments made by a Democratic freshman, Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.
“I thought yesterday’s vote by the House was disgraceful because it’s become — the Democrats have become an anti-Israel party,” Trump said Friday an impromptu news conference on the White House lawn, answering a reporter’s question.
“They’ve become an anti-Jewish party,” he said. “And I thought that vote was a disgrace and so does everybody else, if you get an honest answer. If you get an honest answer from politicians, they thought it was a disgrace. The Democrats have become an anti-Israel party. They’ve become an anti-Jewish party, and that’s too bad.”
Omar, who backs the boycott Israel movement, said last week that she felt pressured to pledge “allegiance” to Israel, the third time she has said things that appear to track with anti-Semitic slanders. She apologized for the first two, but this time doubled down, and the congresswoman and her backers in the party’s progressive and black caucuses pushed back against a bid for a resolution to condemn anti-Semitism, although it did not name Omar.
Ultimately the resolution condemned anti-Semitism primarily, Islamophobia and other biases, and specified that charges of dual loyalty were especially harmful. The entire Democratic caucus voted for the resolution, and all but 24 Republicans did as well. Republicans who voted against said it should have solely addressed anti-Semitism and named Omar.
Jewish Democrats lashed back at Trump, who has equivocated when asked to condemn his backers on the far right. The president also has been accused of intimating anti-Semitic themes in his campaigning.
“We only wish the president had learned from this resolution, which defines anti-Semitism to include anti-Semitic tropes and conspiracy theories that he has repeatedly invoked himself,” the Jewish Democratic Council of America said.