Jan 26, 2020

Bloomberg on anti-Semitism: "Presidential leadership matters"

Photo: Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group.

Michael Bloomberg gave a speech in Florida Sunday on how his Jewish faith has shaped his 2020 bid.

What they're saying: Speaking at the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center and Tauber Academy, Bloomberg harshly criticized President Trump over his leadership on the issue, stating: "Anti-Semitism is hardly the exclusive domain of one political party. It can be found on both the right and the left — on town squares and campus quads. But there is one fact that we cannot ignore: Presidential leadership matters."

  • "When the President calls his supporters 'real Americans,' an echo of the language that nativists, anti-Semites, and the KKK used for many decades, he undermines our fundamental national values," he stated.

Bloomberg also offered his unconditional support to Israel and said he would work to curb Iran's effort to become a nuclear power.

  • "As president, I will always have Israel’s back. I will never impose conditions on our military aid, including missile defense — no matter who is prime minister. And I will never walk away from our commitment to guarantee Israel’s security," Bloomberg said.
  • "I will work to make the strongest deal possible to constrain the Iranian regime’s aggression and territorial ambitions and put an end to their nuclear program, because the world must never allow Iran to threaten Israel and the whole region with a nuclear attack," he added.

Why it matters: Recent attacks targeting Jewish people have showcased the harsh realities of anti-Semitism in America.

  • A mass shooter killed three people at a kosher grocery store in Jersey City, New Jersey, in December after posting anti-Semitic remarks online.
  • An attacker killed one woman at Poway Synagogue in California in April, and a 2018 shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh killed 11.

Go deeper: The political left and the right feed "the new wave of anti-Semitism"

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Trump presents Middle East peace plan, green lights Israeli annexations

Trump and Netanyahu at the White House. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

President Trump described his long-awaited Middle East peace plan as a "realistic two-state solution," but it's being hailed as a victory by Israel and emphatically rejected by the Palestinians.

The state of play: As the plan was released publicly, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman told reporters that the areas of the West Bank envisioned as Israeli territory can be immediately annexed. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already called on his Cabinet to endorse annexation plans this Sunday.

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Scoop: Trump's budget calls for major boost to nukes

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President Trump will request a major increase to the budget for America's nuclear weapons arsenal, according to people familiar with the budget request the administration will unveil on Monday.

By the numbers: Trump's 2021 budget calls for $28.9 billion for the Pentagon to modernize nuclear delivery systems and $19.8 billion to the National Nuclear Security Administration — a nearly 20% increase over his previous budget request — for "modernizing the nuclear weapons stockpile," according to people familiar with the budget request.

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Bloomberg's baggage, and barrage

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Top 2020 Democrats, armed with decades of opposition research, plan to savage Mike Bloomberg as a Democratic Trump — an egomaniac New York billionaire who's stained by sexism and racial slights, and hell-bent on buying power and puppeteering mass media.

Why it matters: Bloomberg knows it's coming, has rehearsed his retorts, readied ads and policy plans to deflect, and will unleash $1.5 billion more on ads and staff to clean up any damage.