Trump threatens ‘unappreciative’ Jews

Former US President Donald Trump's latest outburst is not subliminal messaging. It is clear as day.

 THEN-US president Donald Trump holds up a sign which reads ‘Never give up!’ as he delivers a speech to evangelical supporters in Miami, 2020. Jews should be more like ‘our wonderful evangelicals,’ Trump posted on Sunday.  (photo credit: EVA MARIE UZCATEGUI/ REUTERS)
THEN-US president Donald Trump holds up a sign which reads ‘Never give up!’ as he delivers a speech to evangelical supporters in Miami, 2020. Jews should be more like ‘our wonderful evangelicals,’ Trump posted on Sunday.
(photo credit: EVA MARIE UZCATEGUI/ REUTERS)

I can’t help feeling sorry for Donald Trump. A man of such selfless kindness and generosity, he has done so much for so many and gotten so little appreciation. Like the Jews. Look at all he’s accomplished for Israel. No one has done more. So much, in fact, that the Israeli people would easily elect him prime minister.

At least that’s what he told us Sunday in a posting on his failing oxymoronic Truth Social site, which was later posted on Twitter, where he’s banned from direct posting. His lament came with a threat. American Jews should “get their act together” and be “more appreciative” of his good deeds “before it’s too late.”

Too late for what he didn’t say. Just that Jews should be more like “our wonderful evangelicals.”

Maybe history’s most litigious politician will sue the Jews, a class action case against all those who haven’t sent him money or voted for him.

If he’s looking for credit, he can claim some for the rising tide of antisemitism in this country. Jew-hatred incidents have high a 42-year high, up 34% in the last year alone. His latest post can be expected to contribute to more attacks on Jews.

US President Donald Trump departs on travel to West Point, New York from the South Lawn at the White House in Washington, US, December 12, 2020. (credit: REUTERS/CHERISS MAY/FILE PHOTO)US President Donald Trump departs on travel to West Point, New York from the South Lawn at the White House in Washington, US, December 12, 2020. (credit: REUTERS/CHERISS MAY/FILE PHOTO)

Many mainstream media outlets were quick to condemn his warning; the pro-Trump New York Post simply reported that he called on American Jews to be “more appreciative,” and then it listed all the reasons why.

Throwing a public fit

The appreciation he seeks comes in two forms, according to the Baharat Express News of India, namely “fawning praise or money,” and Trump was upset with Jews for not doing enough of either.

Most Jewish organizations were also quick to condemn the disgraced former president’s latest antisemitic screed. The ADL’s Jonathan Greenblatt called it “insulting and disgusting.” No surprise there.

It is what others didn’t say.

Like the Zionist Organization of America. Two days before the infamous tweet, the extreme Right-wing organization announced it plans to honor Trump next month with its Theodor Herzl Medallion “for being the best friend Israel ever had in the White House.” I’ve found nothing on the group’s website responding to Trump’s latest post, much less canceling the award.

Also being honored will be House minority leader, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who has his own baggage, to be joined by Trump defender Alan Dershowitz. ZOA’s national chair is David Schoen, one of the disgraced former president’s impeachment lawyers. 

THERE’S NOTHING shocking or even a bit surprising about Trump’s latest antisemitic outbursts; similar eruptions have marked his entire political career.

 Then US-president elect Donald Trump and musician Kanye West pose for media at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York City, US, December 13, 2016.  (credit: REUTERS/ANDREW KELLY) Then US-president elect Donald Trump and musician Kanye West pose for media at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York City, US, December 13, 2016. (credit: REUTERS/ANDREW KELLY)

What is alarming, if not particularly surprising, is the silence of Republican leaders and Jewish supporters of the GOP and the twice-impeached former president. As I write this, I’ve been unable to find any criticism from any of them.

He collected record amounts of contributions from Jews in his two presidential campaigns – although admittedly, with Trump there is never enough – perhaps more than any other candidate in history.

The Republican Jewish Coalition can spend millions, but that won’t convince most Jews to cross over to their side, not with Trump’s antisemitism and not with the party’s increasingly reactionary domestic social policies. 

It’s not just Trump. Antisemitism is the inevitable partner of the party’s white supremacy and is reflected in its approach to civil rights, social welfare and a full range of domestic issues. The party of book burners can’t expect to attract the People of the Book.

Just hours before issuing his threatening tweet, Trump endorsed Rep. Lee Zeldin for governor of New York. Zeldin is one of only two Jewish Republicans in the current congress; David Kustoff of Tennessee is the other. It is obvious why the other 36 Jewish lawmakers are Democrats and Independents.

ANTISEMITISM has become a defining principle for many Republicans. The GOP – Eric Trump says, “It’s no longer the Republican Party, it’s the Trump Party” – is dominated by white supremacists preaching nativism, misogyny, homophobia and fascism – and those who don’t buy in are silent out of fear.

The rising star of the party in Congress is Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Georgia freshman who is a conspiracy theorist with a penchant for Holocaust comparisons and has become a popular speaker at white supremacy events and Trump rallies.

Attendees at the Republican Jewish Coalition's annual leadership meeting hold up signs while waiting to see President Donald Trump speak at The Venetian Las Vegas (credit: GABE FRIEDMAN (JTA))Attendees at the Republican Jewish Coalition's annual leadership meeting hold up signs while waiting to see President Donald Trump speak at The Venetian Las Vegas (credit: GABE FRIEDMAN (JTA))

She told The New York Times that she has been talking to Trump about being his running mate if he decides to run in 2024. I’m not sure he can handle the competition for the spotlight, but it is worth noting that vice presidents traditionally head the National Space Council, which could give her access to those Jewish space lasers that she said caused the California forest fires.

Enablers in his political party only make things worse

The usual Republican response in these outbursts is “whataboutism” – a ploy to distract attention by calling out “what about” antisemitism or something else in the other party. Democrats do have an antisemitism problem that they must deal with, but it is far smaller, and they’ve shown a greater willingness to confront it. That is not an excuse for Republicans ignoring their own problem, especially since it is so widespread and goes all the way up the ranks to the very pinnacle.

The response of Republican leadership and prominent Jewish supporters to Trump’s threat to Jews to be “more appreciative” “before it is too late!” is shameful. Their silence is nothing less than acquiescence.

The writer is a Washington-based journalist, consultant, lobbyist and former AIPAC legislative director.