Trump, challenged on antisemitism, cites economy and Israel policies

"Nobody has done more for Israel than Donald Trump, and the nice part is that's not me saying it– that's Prime Minister Netanyahu," Trump said.

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November 7, 2018 20:33
1 minute read.
U.S. President Donald Trump addresses a news conference following Tuesday's midterm congressional el

U.S. President Donald Trump addresses a news conference following Tuesday's midterm congressional elections at the White House in Washington, US, November 7, 2018. (photo credit: REUTERS/KEVIN LAMARQUE)

 
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WASHINGTON -- At a testy press conference Wednesday on the 2018 midterm elections, US President Donald Trump faced questions on rising antisemitism nationwide and told reporters that a booming economy, coupled with his Israel policies, would combat the scourge.

Campaigns for Congress concluded on Tuesday with Democrats reclaiming control over the House of Representatives and Republicans retaining control over the Senate. But just days before voting, a mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, shook the nation.

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Asked what he could do to promote a more conducive political environment, and combat antisemitism, Trump first discussed his relocation of the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

"Prime Minister Netanyahu said that this president has done more for Israel than any other president. Jerusalem, protection, working together, many other things," Trump said. "Many other presidents have said they were going to build the embassy in Jerusalem. Never happened."

"Nobody has done more for Israel than Donald Trump, and the nice part is that's not me saying it– that's Prime Minister Netanyahu," he continued.

But pressed to address divisions within the country, he cited the economy.

"One of the things that can help heal is the success of our country," Trump said. "We are really successful now."

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In a press conference that ran over an hour, Trump bristled at the suggestion he has emboldened racists and white nationalists who claim he represents their cause. He denied that his administration cut funding to investigate far-right extremists, and said he was concerned with a spike in cases on domestic terrorism around white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

He also said his approval rating among African-Americans had reached a record high, without citing evidence.

"I think I am a great moral leader and I love our country," Trump said.

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