'Horrified' U.S. Jewish Lawmakers, Groups Slam Trump for D.C. Violence

Senator Ben Cardin, slammed Trump's insipid tweet, saying he was 'pouring the gasoline, lighting the match and then praising the firefighters,' as the outgoing president drew fire from both sides of the aisle

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Pro-Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol following a rally with President Donald Trump on January 6, 2021.Credit: Samuel Corum / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP
Ben Samuels
Ben Samuels

WASHINGTON – Jewish American lawmakers and organizations universally condemned Wednesday's violence in Washington, with many placing blame directly on the Republican Party and U.S. President Donald Trump.

More than half of the eight Democratic senators and nearly every single one of the 25 Jewish members of the House of Representatives publicly condemned the violence.

The U.S. Capitol was put on lockdown as crowds protesting President-elect Joe Biden's victory stormed the Capitol while Congress was debating the certification of his electoral win over President Donald Trump, with one woman shot and killed. 

Sen. Chuck Schumer, who is on track to become the first Jewish Senate Majority Leader following the results of Georgia's Senate runoff on Tuesday, simply quote-tweeted Trump's belated calls for calm saying "It's a little late for that. Don't you think?"

Sen. Ben Cardin also responded to Trump's tweet saying he was "pouring the gasoline, lighting the match and then praising the firefighters. Really quite unfathomable that this chaos was instigated – encouraged – by the President of the United States."

Rep. David Cicilline and Rep. Steve Cohen offered arguably the sharpest criticism of Trump. "This is outrageous, and the president caused it. We should impeach and convict him tomorrow," Cicilline tweeted. Cohen called Trump an enemy of America, saying America is now "a third world country led by a tin-pot dictator." Rep. Debbie Wasserman also tweeted directly at Trump: "The blood spilled today is on your hands."

The reprimands also extended beyond partisan lines. One of two Jewish Republican lawmakers, Rep. David Kustoff, called the violence "unacceptable" and saying America is "a nation of laws, not a nation of violence. Thank you to the U.S. Capitol police for your work at this time." The other Republican Congressman, Lee Zeldin, said "this should never be the scene at the Capitol. This isn't the America we love. We can debate & disagree, even on Jan 6th after a Presidential election, but in our republic we elect people to voice our objections in the Capitol on this day.

Jewish organizations across the political spectrum also echoed the lawmakers, with many holding Trump personally accountable.

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt called on Twitter to suspend Trump. "Two bare minimum tweets after the Capitol has been stormed by extremists is too little, too late," Greenblatt tweeted, before tagging Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and saying "it’s overdue to suspend @realDonaldTrump until his account stops promoting disinformation and inciting violence.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the most influential lobby group supporting Israel in the United States, said "we share the anger of our fellow Americans over the attack at the Capitol and condemn the assault on our democratic values and process. This violence, and President Trump's incitement of it, is outrageous and must end."

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speak after a press conference on Capitol Hill on December 20, 2020 in Washington DCCredit: TASOS KATOPODIS - AFP

Their left-wing counterparts, J Street, blasted Trump earlier on for "repeatedly inciting far-right thugs to subvert our democracy, and now they're trying to do just that. Trump and his allies should tell their supporters to stand down – or else be held fully accountable for their appalling, dangerous actions."

The progressive Jewish organization, IfNotNow, took their criticisms a step further and called the events an "act of white supremacists terror, implicitly supported by Trump and his cronies," adding that "calling it anything else would be dishonest." Bend The Arc, another progressive Jewish organization focused on social justice, retweeted first-term Rep. Cori Bush who said she will be introducing a resolution calling for the expulsion of the Republican members of Congress "who have incited this domestic terror attack through their attempts to overturn the election must face consequences. They have broken their sacred Oath of Office."

The American Jewish Committee called the peaceful transition of power said they were "shocked and horrified by the violent riots taking place on Capitol Hill at this time." They also urged Trump "to call for an immediate end to the riots and respect the certification process currently underway."

Israeli lawmakers condemn "polarization and extremism" in Washington 

Several Israeli politicians have joined the chorus of condemnation following the siege on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. Wednesday. 

Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said he was shocked by the attack on the U.S. Congress and democracy as a whole. 

"Since America's founding, our strongest ally has been a beacon of democracy, liberty, justice and freedom. I am sure the American people and its lawmakers will condemn the attack and continue to defend the values upon which the United States was founded," Ashkenazi said. 

Leader of the New Hope party Gideon Sa'ar said he was saddened by the images of the events in Washington D.C., "the capital city of Israel's closest ally." 

"These events serve as a reminder of the dangers of radicalization and polarization in society. It's forbidden to take the foundations of democracy for granted," Sa'ar wrote on Twitter. 

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