Trump needs to normalize relations in America, as well as the Mid-East

Unfortunately, Trump has done the reverse.

Members of the New York Police Department (NYPD) clash with demonstrators during an Abolish I.C.E. protest in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., September 27, 2020. (photo credit: REUTERS/JEENAH MOON)
Members of the New York Police Department (NYPD) clash with demonstrators during an Abolish I.C.E. protest in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., September 27, 2020.
(photo credit: REUTERS/JEENAH MOON)
I was deeply pleased to see Israel, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates come together at the White House to normalize the relations between their countries. I hope this courageous step inspires other Arab states to normalize ties with Israel, America’s closest ally in the Middle East.
Unfortunately, this positive news is not matched by actions from President Trump here at home . As his recent debate performance demonstrates, the president chooses to aggravate divisions he thinks work to his political benefit, encouraging a white supremacist organization like the Proud Boys to “stand by” – advice that group understands as a call to action!
Just as most Jewish Americans welcome the news of normalized relations in the Mideast, we also want a president who will work to normalize relations in our own divided country. 
It is not normal for the president of the United States to see “very fine people” on both sides of a neo-Nazi riot, deliberately overlooking the chants that “Jews will not replace us.” Is anyone surprised that Donald Trump’s winking at white supremacists has accompanied what the FBI describes as the highest levels of hate crimes against the Jewish-American community in our nation’s history?
It is not normal to have a president who prefers to divide, who launched his presidential campaign in 2015 by slandering Mexican immigrants as rapists and drug dealers, who refers to the current pandemic with ugly slurs such as “the Chinese virus” and “kung flu,” and minimizes the death toll from “blue states.”
“If you take the blue states out,” Trump said on September 16, “we’re at a level that I don’t think anybody in the world would be at. We’re really at a very low level.” News flash, Mr. President, we’re not taking the blue states out.
It is not normal that more than 200,000 Americans have been killed this year in red and blue states, by a mismanaged public health crisis – more lives lost than Americans fighting the Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War, the War in Afghanistan and Iraq War combined. We will not forget hearing the president admit on tape that during the early, crucial months of this year he deliberately lied to the American people about the severity of the disease for the sake of rosier economic headlines.
It is certainly not normal that a president of the United States, who has sworn an oath to protect our nation, continues to ignore or contradict the judgment of scientists and medical professionals about safeguarding the nation’s health, flouts public health guidelines by encouraging his supporters to attend political rallies without basic safeguards, and continues to try to revoke health coverage for millions of Americans – even during a pandemic.
It is not normal – it is appalling – that this same president, claiming to be a champion of “law and order,” while he disregards state and local regulations, now refuses to acknowledge that he will abide by the outcome of the coming election, regardless of its conclusion!
The peaceful transfer of power is a cherished American legacy, recognized around the world as a proof of a healthy democracy. Normal would be a president who appreciates that he is the custodian of that legacy; unfortunately, that is not the president we have now.
As we marked the start of our children’s school year and this most unusual of High Holy Days, when even our most basic religious rituals and daily routines have been sadly disrupted, I too wish for a return to normal conditions. But I know that I cannot count on Donald Trump to lead us there.
We will not return to normal with a president who gives occasional lip service to fighting antisemitism while repeating dangerous stereotypes about Jews, in private and in public; calling us globalists, disloyal Americans, who excel at counting money and want to control politicians. Who “stick together” and are “only in it for themselves.”
I have heard suggestions from Trump’s supporters that I should overlook his words, which even they agree can be “regrettable.” But the words of the president of the United States have power: The power to mobilize against a common threat; the power to unite us in pursuit of a higher goal, the power to build that more perfect union.
Unfortunately, Donald Trump chooses words that inflame. He seeks to retain power by dividing Americans at the expense of the most vulnerable – a strategy that throughout history has had painful, even deadly, consequences for Jews.
So do I join with the Jewish-American community in celebration that Bahrain and the UAE are normalizing relations with Israel, and hope that other Arab countries will soon follow? Absolutely. At the same time, I am doing all I can to elect Joe Biden, who has a decades-long record of supporting Israel’s security, opposing extremism and antisemitism – and protecting normal life here at home.

The writer is the former communications director in the Bill Clinton White House and a co-chair of the pro-Israel group Democratic Majority for Israel.