Donald Trump has been pressured since the beginning of his presidential campaign about his support from white supremacist groups. His right-hand man, Steve Bannon, used to run the Neo-Nazi/white nationalist website Breitbart, and he is supported by celebrities in that circle such as David Duke or Richard Spencer.
Trump made Muslims his favorite punching bag during his campaign, and the religious intolerance hasn’t let up now that he’s in the White House. His executive orders targeting Muslims has endeared him to the far-right, which also tends to hate Jewish people.
Remember how conservatives kvetched about President Obama refusing to say the words “radical Islam”? Well, where is their outrage with him refusing to strongly condemn violence towards Jews?
Mike Pence showed up at the St. Louis cemetery that had Jewish graves vandalized to get photo ops, but where was Trump? Can Herr Gropenfuhrer just devote one of his morning Twitter rants to lecture people on religious tolerance? Obviously not.
Trump finally came out with a half-assed condemnation of hatred aimed at Jews, but it was too little, too late.
Trump’s latest remarks, made at the newly opened National Museum of African American History and Culture, marked the first time he directly addressed recent incidents of anti-Semitism. Earlier in the day, the White House put out a statement denouncing “hatred and hate-motivated violence” but not mentioning Jews, the weekend vandalism at a Jewish cemetery or multiple threats to community centers Monday.
Eleven Jewish community centers across the country received telephoned bomb threats, according to the JCC Association of North America. Like three waves of similar phone calls in January, the new threats proved to be hoaxes, the association said in a statement. In addition, as many as 200 headstones were damaged or tipped over at a Jewish cemetery in suburban St. Louis late Sunday or early Monday.
“The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible and are painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil,” Trump said. He did not outline what that might entail. (Source)
The common retort from the far-right is that Ivanka converted to Judaism to marry Jared Kushner, and that their children are also Jewish. Therefore, according to their logic, Trump can’t be anti-Semitic, because he has family members who are Jews.
Just because someone has Jewish people, or any other minority in their family, doesn’t mean they are incapable of being bigots. Just because someone is a minority doesn’t mean they’re immune from prejudice either. Adolph Hitler is rumored to have come from Jewish ancestry, but that didn’t stop him from killing 6 million of them, including members of my family.
Trump’s rebukes of attacks on Jews are little more than empty words. He still has massive support from white supremacists and has Steve Bannon on his staff. He is loathe to say more than he did, because that would make the Klan and Neo-Nazis angry.
I believe that Trump is a bigot, but he’s also pragmatic enough to know which people he can use to further his agenda. It doesn’t matter to him if you are Jewish, Muslim, black or LGBT – so long as you’re part of his master plan to feed his ego and make more money.