President Donald Trump has drawn criticism — and inspired a viral hashtag — for claiming American Jews who vote for Democrats are showing “a great disloyalty” by aligning with the political party of Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib.
Trump, 73, told reporters in the Oval Office on Tuesday that he believed the Democratic congresswomen “hate Israel and hate Jewish people” because of their support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) for Palestinian rights.
“Where has the Democratic party gone?” he said. “…I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it should either a total lack of knowledge or a great disloyalty.”
The Republican president later doubled down on his criticism of Tlaib, who gave an emotional press conference on Monday in which she cried as she recalled childhood visits to Palestine, where her mother was forced to go through “dehumanizing checkpoints.”
RELATED VIDEO: Amid Celeb Criticism He ‘Inspires’ Mass Shooters, Trump Condemns Racism and Violent Video Games
“Sorry, I don’t buy Rep. Tlaib’s tears,” Trump wrote via Twitter on Tuesday. “I have watched her violence, craziness, and most importantly, WORDS, for far too long. Now tears? She hates Israel and all Jewish people. She is an anti-Semite. She and her 3 friends are the new face of the Democrat Party. Live with it!”
Trump’s “3 friends” comment referred to what’s come to be known as “The Squad,” a group of freshman congresswomen of color, including Tlaib, Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley.
It wasn’t long before Trump’s comments had circulated widely on social media, inspiring backlash in the form of a “Disloyal To Trump” hashtag.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democratic presidential hopeful for 2020, issued a blistering statement on Twitter that accused Trump of being “loyal to white supremacy.”
Trump is loyal to white supremacy. He believes if you're not loyal to him and his “values,” you're not loyal to the country. Make no mistake: there is a DEEPLY anti-Semitic precedent for that type of thinking and it led to the death of SIX MILLION Jews.— Bill de Blasio (@BilldeBlasio) August 21, 2019
Let’s prove Trump wrong. https://t.co/HdQjTJzwc3
“Trump accused Jewish Democrats of being ‘disloyal’ yesterday. Not so long ago, he insisted there were very fine people in a mob chanting ‘Jews will not replace us.’ Let’s be clear: Trump’s loyalty is what we should be questioning,” de Blasio wrote Wednesday.
He continued, “Trump is loyal to white supremacy. He believes if you’re not loyal to him and his ‘values,’ you’re not loyal to the country. Make no mistake: there is a DEEPLY anti-Semitic precedent for that type of thinking and it led to the death of SIX MILLION Jews. Let’s prove Trump wrong.”
Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, another Democrat running for president, also weighed in, writing on Twitter, “The Jewish people don’t need to prove their loyalty to you, @realDonaldTrump- or to anyone else.”
David Simon, the Jewish creator of The Wire, wrote that he was loyal to his republic, and not to Trump.
“I recognize that this democracy has a cancer and Donald Trump and his Republican enablers are the pathogen. This has f— all to do with my religion. To even link the two is a pure anti-Semitic impulse by an ignorant, unfit cretin. #DisloyalToTrump,” he wrote on Twitter.
Even Omar contributed to the hashtag, poking fun at the fact that Trump won the Electoral College but lost the popular vote to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by nearly 3 million votes.
“The popular vote was #DisloyalToTrump,” she wrote on Twitter.
Trump’s comments did, however, find support in the Republican Jewish Coalition, which tweeted, in part: “President Trump is right, it shows a great deal of disloyalty to oneself to defend a party that protects/emboldens people that hate you for your religion.”
Trump inspired yet another viral moment on Wednesday morning, after he quoted a conservative commentator and conspiracy theorist who claimed Jewish people adored him like he was the “King of Israel.”
The phrase spread on social media after he quoted the line from Wayne Allyn Root, who said it while speaking on Newsmax.
“This is the greatest president for Jews and for Israel in the history of the world. Not just America, Trump is the best president for Israel in the history of the world. And the Jewish people love him like he is the King of Israel,” said Root, who has a long history of inflammatory and unfounded assertions. “They love him like this is the second coming of God. But American Jews don’t know him or like him. They don’t even know what they’re doing or saying anymore. It makes no sense. But that’s OK, he keeps doing what he’s doing, he’s good for all us, good for Jews, good for blacks, good for gays, he’s good for everyone in America who wants a job.”
The comment drew criticism from TV producer Michael Schur, who wrote, “Now I’m not an Old Testament scholar, certainly, but I feel like the *actual * King of Israel wouldn’t retweet so many neo-Nazi anti-Semitic memes about how Jewish globalist bankers secretly control the world economy.”
The Daily Show also chimed in, recalling a 2013 tweet in which Trump referred to former host Jon Stewart by his given name, Jonathan Leibowitz, and claimed he was “totally overrated.”
Nothing but respect for our King of Israel https://t.co/LZLXHK8MvE— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) August 21, 2019
“Nothing but respect for our King of Israel,” the show sarcastically wrote on Twitter.
As CNN notes, Jewish Americans voted for the Democratic Party by about a 3:1 margin in the 2018 midterm elections.