Updated Aug 20, 2019 - Politics & Policy

Trump says Jewish Americans who vote Democrat show "great disloyalty"

President Trump told reporters in the Oval Office Tuesday that he didn't "buy" the tears from Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) at a recent press conference addressing Israel's decision to bar entry to her and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), adding that Jewish Americans who vote for Democrats show either "a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty."

"I can't even believe that we're having this conversation. Five years ago, the concept of even talking about this, even 3 years ago, of cutting off aid to Israel because of 2 people that hate Israel and hate Jewish people. I can't believe we're even having this conversation. Where has the Democratic Party gone? Where have they gone where they're defending these 2 people over the state of Israel? I think that any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty."

Why it matters: 79% of Jewish Americans voted for Democrats in the 2018 midterms, according to Pew Research Center.

Driving the news: Following pressure from President Trump, Reps. Omar and Tlaib were barred by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from visiting Israel last week over their support for the BDS movement, which advocates a boycott of the state of Israel for its government's treatment of Palestinians. Trump publicly encouraged the ban on Twitter, saying that the congresswomen "hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds."

Flashback: Trump told RNC donors in March that "the Democrats hate Jewish people," referring to the controversy over Omar's past comments about Israel.

  • Republicans and some Democrats accused Omar of exploiting an anti-Semitic stereotype that Jewish Americans hold a "dual loyalty" to a foreign country. Omar "unequivocally" apologized for the comments.
  • It's unclear to whom Trump thinks Jewish Americans who vote Democrat are "disloyal" — but his comments have prompted accusations that he's exploiting the same anti-Semitic "dual loyalty" trope that Omar apologized for in February.

Go deeper: Trump builds 2020 support with Republican Jewish Coalition

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