Insider asked 38 Republicans whether they're concerned about growing anti-Semitic sentiments in their party. Their responses included silence, deflection, and rehashing old statements.

Participants hold up signs reading "No Hate. No Fear" and "Never again" in New York City on January 5, 2020, at the No Hate No Fear solidarity march against the rise of anti-semitism.
Participants at the No Hate No Fear solidarity march against the rise of anti-semitism in New York City on January 5, 2020,Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images
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  • Republican leaders have seemingly adopted a wait-and-see approach to antisemitism.

  • Frustrated supporters say the party should automatically condemn "any divisive and hateful commentary."

  • "A lot of these people vote," Donald Trump once said when advised to keep bigots at bay.

Insider contacted more than three dozen Republicans, both in and out of Congress, to find out what's kept them from denouncing recent antisemitic outbursts by the party's current idols.

Almost everyone ignored the multiple emails, calls, and text messages asking whatever happened to the cookie-cutter "there's-no-place-for-INSERT DESPICABLE THING-in-the-Republican-party" statements politicians typically fired off as soon as someone baselessly attacked anyone's race, religion or ethnicity.

Insider reached out to House Republican leaders, GOP senators auditioning for the 2024 presidential race, the Republican National Committee, retired GOP lawmakers, seasoned Republican strategists and former Donald Trump administration officials about this disturbing phenomenon.

The non-respondents included RNC chair Ronna McDaniel, former Vice President Mike Pence, National Republican Senatorial Committee chair Rick Scott, House Republican Conference chair Elise Stefanik, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, and former Speaker Newt Gingrich, among others. The brush-offs ranged from total radio silence to promises to circle back "if we're able to provide comment by your deadline" to immediate hang-ups and finger-pointing at Democrats.

The sheepishness that prominent and high-ranking party members have displayed by disregarding or openly celebrating entertainer Ye (Kanye West) threatening Jews on social media, Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene's repeated anti-semitic diatribes, and Trump ordering Jews that don't support him to "get their act together" underscores how terrified they all are of alienating the most extreme conservatives ahead of the midterms.


The unwillingness to flatly reject antisemitism today appears to be the mainstreaming of the political calculus Trump made in 2016 when former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie urged the first-time candidate to steer clear of white supremacists.

"A lot of these people vote," Trump reportedly told his one-time ally.

Staff for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the only elected lawmaker willing to engage on this sensitive subject, did not provide new comment but rather redirected Insider to a quote the Kentucky Republican gave Politico after MAGA darling Greene spoke at an event organized by alleged white supremacist Nick Fuentes.

Minimal outcry within the GOP

White supremacist Nick Fuentes speaks as America First protesters gather in front of the Gracie Mansion to protest vaccination mandates in New York City on November 13, 2021.
White supremacist Nick Fuentes speaks as America First protesters gather in front of the Gracie Mansion to protest vaccination mandates in New York City on November 13, 2021.Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

"There's no place in the Republican Party for white supremacists or anti-Semitism," McConnell said in February, joining House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and lobbying outfit the Republican Jewish Coalition in scolding the Georgia Republican for consorting with hate groups.

"It is appalling and outrageous that a Member of Congress would share a platform with an individual who has actively spread antisemitic bile, mocked the Holocaust, and promoted dangerous anti-Israel conspiracy theories," the Trump-aligned political organization said in a statement, punctuating it with the compulsory "this has absolutely no place in the Republican Party."

But there's been minimal outcry within the GOP this time around.

That others are now trying to mimic the both sides-ing, whataboutism, and demagoguing Trump has used to duck responsibility for his polarizing actions is driving some long-standing Republicans crazy.

"My party shouldn't have any problem calling out wrongs when they're clearly wrong," Jeff Grappone, a Republican strategist at political consulting firm Rokk Solutions, told Insider. He added that Republicans need to appeal to a wider audience if they want to win future elections.

"And central to that effort needs to be unambiguous condemnation of any divisive and hateful commentary," Grappone said.

Meghan McCain, the daughter of late Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, lashed out at West, Trump and House Republican "idiots" cheering on their reprehensible behavior.


"Why is everyone saying such insane things about Jewish people this week? Are we all officially in hell?," she fumed online about Trump's misguided demand for fealty.

McCain also chastised the conservative TV hosts, podcasters, and journalists exploiting West's "blatant and egregious antisemitism" purely to score political points.

"This is bigoted hate speech. It's dangerous. It's evil," McCain wrote online. "But keep inviting him to your events guys…"

McCain did not respond to Insider's request for comment about Republicans' embrace of people openly touting antisemitic sentiments.

'He knows what he's doing'

Christine Rosen, a senior fellow at the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute and regular contributor to the American Jewish Committee's monthly magazine Commentary, explained what she finds most dangerous about writing off Trump's casual antisemitism as old news.

"You can say that his particular words in this particular case are not antisemitic," Rosen said Tuesday during Commentary's daily podcast. "The problem is that Trump knows who his supporters are. And among his supporters are some of the nastiest anti-semites out there."

Rosen added that Trump typically blows off accusations about being antisemitic by mentioning that his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, are Jewish. But he has notably not trumpeted those connections while courting the support of fellow 2020 election deniers and alleged January 6 insurrectionists involved with the violent Oath Keepers and Proud Boys.

"Every time he says something — anything — about the Jewish people, he knows that he is speaking to a group that has a deep-seated hatred," Rosen said of Trump's affinity for the far-right.

Then-President Donald Trump takes the stage at the "Stop The Steal" Rally on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Then-President Donald Trump takes the stage at the "Stop The Steal" Rally on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

What's even scarier, Rosen said, is that Trump is well aware of his sway over angry white men, and he stirs them up for his own benefit anyway.

"Rising antisemitism in this country makes every word he said or posts on Truth Social irresponsible," Rosen said. "He knows what he's doing when he says these things."

The GOP's mounting comfort level with antisemitism bothers some in the party. But they appear to be in the minority of those willing to speak up these days.

Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, thumped Trump for the latest attempt at "Jewsplaining."


"We don't need the former president, who curries favor with extremists and antisemites, to lecture us about the US-Israel relationship," Greenblatt wrote online. His organization also lit into West, calling the polarizing celebrity's antics "deeply troubling, dangerous, and antisemitic, period" and debunking West's attempted disinformation.

Staff at right-leaning news outlet The Bulwark ridiculed conservatives pretending that West's bid to buy right-leaning social media hub Parler is anything other than a play to keep sharing wildly inappropriate content with like-minded individuals by highlighting the "racist, anti-Semitic freakshows" that dominate that site's current user base.

Meanwhile, University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse student Megan Pauley recently took the heat for fellow classmates currently in West's thrall, reportedly resigning as head of the school's chapter of the College Republicans after group members wrote "Kanye is right" and scribbled other culture war taunts (anti-vaccine, gun control, and transgender rights) in chalk around campus.

"Antisemitism and hate speech have no place in the College Republicans," Pauley wrote in a since-deleted tweet.

Risk vs. reward

Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel campaigns for Georgia Republican Senate nominee Herschel Walker during a campaign stop on October 20, 2022 in Macon, Georgia.
Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel campaigns for Georgia Republican Senate nominee Herschel Walker during a campaign stop on October 20, 2022 in Macon, Georgia.Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

The RNC's McDaniel talked about cracking down on extremist supporters shortly after the violent January 6, 2021 siege at the US Capitol.

"I will denounce extreme elements that pretend to be Republican and say we do not want you in our party," McDaniel said on CBS's "Face the Nation" in February 2021. But she quickly couched that pledge by demanding that Democrats "do the same with antifa and groups that are anti-Semitic that masquerade as Democrats," referring to loosely organized, self-described anti-fascists.

The only antisemitism the RNC has weighed in on since then is the November 2021 report it published alleging that Democrats are the ones condoning hate.

The partisan document is mostly filled with complaints about alleged statements and activities by President Joe Biden and progressive "Squad" members Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, and Cori Bush of Missouri.

The difference is that Democratic leaders took Omar to task about an anti-semitic tweet in 2019. And the chastened lawmaker apologized for her statement.

"Anti-Semitism must be called out, confronted and condemned whenever it is encountered, without exception," Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a joint statement at the time with her Democratic leadership team.

"The entire Congress must be fully engaged in denouncing and rejecting all forms of hatred, racism, prejudice and discrimination wherever they are encountered," the Democratic leaders wrote.

Have likely 2024 GOP presidential candidates like Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rick Scott of Florida, Tim Scott of South Carolina, Josh Hawley of Missouri, or Tom Cotton of Arizona rushed to snatch that mantle from House Democrats in the interim?

They've had plenty of opportunities in just the past few weeks. They've not implored Pennsylvania GOP gubernatorial hopeful Doug Mastriano to rise above calling Democratic challenger Josh Shapiro elitist for attending a Jewish day school.

They've not publicly rebuked Trump-backed Senate candidate Mehmet Oz for attending a fundraiser featuring one of Adolf Hitler's vintage cars as a backdrop.

Nor have they convinced House Judiciary Committee ranking member Jim Jordan to quit hailing West and Trump as personal heroes.

Instead, the closest the anticipated presidential contenders have come to addressing modern antisemitism is trolling Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York online after she denounced West's "harmful" and "dangerous" comments.


"So you'll be voting to censure the Squad?" was Cruz's contribution to the existential debate.

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