After once again accusing Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar of hating Israel on Tuesday, President Trump told reporters that “any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat — I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.”
Whether Trump meant disloyalty to himself or to the state of Israel — which he claims to be a great friend of — is unclear, though the betting money is on Israel. Either way, accusing Jews of failing to show fidelity to the proper country carries an obviously terrible history. And viewing a whole religion as an undifferentiated mass that should vote solely based on tribal affiliation isn’t exactly appropriate either.
Jews have voted overwhelmingly Democratic for decades — a CNN exit poll showed that 79 percent went for Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections — and, by and large, can’t stand the president. Trump accusing several million people of disloyalty is unlikely to do much for his party’s long-shot attempt to wrest back some of the Jewish vote.
When Ilhan Omar implied that some Jews were loyal to more than one country back in March, she caused a furor, including from many Republicans who have tried to make her the face of a supposedly anti-Semitic Democratic Party. President Trump, who once tweeted out a Star of David superimposed on a pile of cash and told a Jewish crowd that “You’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money,” has been her harshest critic. Now that he has invoked Jews and the loyalty trope, he should be subject to the same sort of denunciations from his Republican colleagues. But, of course, he won’t be.