President Trump Thinks Asking Him to Condemn Anti-Semitism Is ‘insulting.’ Why?
What a president says and doesn’t say is significant. So when President Trump was asked once on Wednesday and twice on Thursday to address an upsurge in anti-Semitism in America, his reaction was notable.
Trump could have said he condemns anti-Semitism and takes incidents, such as the dozens of threats made to Jewish Community Centers, seriously. But instead, he lashed out against those asking the question.
It was startling and, unfortunately, it was only the latest episode in a troubling pattern.
Last year, we watched as the Trump campaign repeatedly tweeted and shared anti-Semitic imagery and language, allowing this poison to move from the margins into the mainstream of the public conversation. We saw white supremacists accommodated with press credentials and welcomed at Trump’s political rallies. And when the Anti-Defamation League repeatedly and respectfully raised concerns, we were dismissed by the Trump campaign and its allies.
Immediately after the election, we saw white supremacists celebrating and convening right around the corner from the White House, raising their arms in Hitler salutes. Barely a week after Trump’s victory, the FBI issued an annual report that noted that there were more hate crimes against Jews in 2015 — the report for 2016 will be out this fall — and that we remain the most frequently targeted religious minority, even in a climate where Trump has rallied supporters behind the idea of banning Muslims from entering the country. In the months since then, the Jewish community has been victimized by a surge of hate crimes, including waves of bomb threats against Jewish community centers, a torrent of verbal abuse and physical graffiti directed against Jews and relentless attacks on Jewish journalists and Jewish public figures on social media.