Never one to miss an opportunity to get his hate on, Donald Trump on Tuesday demanded Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) resign over her unfortunate “all about the Benjamins” comment. Calling her well-received apology “lame,” Trump complained, “Anti-Semitism has no place in the United States Congress. I think she should either resign from Congress or she should certainly resign from the Foreign Affairs Committee.”
But if Trump is worried about the propagation of anti-Semitic tropes, he should start by looking in the mirror. After all, from proclaiming that Jewish groups buy politicians and declaring that Jewish Americans have conflicting loyalties, to warning of an all-powerful global Jewish banking power structure, Donald Trump has often sounded like the audiobook narrator for The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
Consider, for example, the president’s well-wishes to the Jewish Americans who joined him at the White House to celebrate Hanukkah on December 6, 2018. Trump announced, “We renew our gratitude for those amazing blessings and we reaffirm our unbreakable solidarity with the Jewish people.” He continued, “I want to thank Vice President Mike Pence. A tremendous supporter — (applause) — a tremendous supporter of yours. And Karen. And they go there and they love your country. They love your country. And they love this country. That’s a good combination, right?”
To be sure, suggesting to American Jews that their nation is anything other than the United States of America is insulting. But it’s not as if the 45th president of the United States said that Jews bought and paid for political power. At least, not on that day.
That came three years earlier, when candidate Donald Trump was wooing a gathering of Jewish Republicans.
Declaring “I’m a negotiator like you,” Trump announced that he was in a different position than all the other GOP candidates because "I don't want any of your money. I don't want any of your money. I'm self-funding my campaign.” Among others, former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer was aghast. As he put it on Twitter: “Trump to the Republican Jewish Coalition: ‘You're not going to support me because I don't want your money.’ What the hell does that mean?”
When Trump wasn’t insinuating the loyalties of Jewish Americans rest with a foreign power, he was not-so-subtly suggesting something even more sinister. In speeches and in his final TV ad, Trump warned of a “global power structure” and “global special interests” out to defeat him and the “good people” who backed him. Long before his both-siderism over Charlottesville, Trump darkly cautioned in October 2016, “Hillary Clinton meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of US sovereignty in order to enrich these global financial powers, her special interest friends and her donors.”
Jonathan Greenblatt of the Anti-Defamation League responded on Twitter with a clear message to candidate Trump: “.@TeamTrump should avoid rhetoric&tropes that historically have been used ag. Jews & still spur #antisemitism. Lets keep hate out of cmpgn.”
Unfortunately, the 2016 election decided that hate would be moved from the campaign into the White House.
Of course, Trump’s casual stereotyping of Jewish Americans is all in day’s work for his Republican Party. When leaders like Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, and Michele Bachmann aren’t basing American policy toward Israel on End Times prophecy, according to which Jews will be biblically mandated cannon fodder required for Armageddon and the Second Coming of Christ, the GOP’s best and brightest are comparing Obamacare, the national debt, gun safety, abortion, and pretty much every policy they hate to the Holocaust.
By Trump’s standard for Rep. Omar, he and most of his GOP allies would have to resign, too.