WASHINGTON — President Trump told top Republican donors that if he ran for Prime Minister of Israel, he would get 98 percent in the polls, according to a report published on Sunday. Axios journalist Jonathan Swan wrote that Trump made the unusual comment during an off-the-record gathering of the Republican National Committee in Florida.
According to the report, Trump also repeated his new attack line of criticizing the Democratic Party by citing Israel and anti-Semitism.
"Trump said if he could run to be prime minister of Israel, he'd be at 98% in the polls, according to three sources who were there," Swan wrote. Trump is widely popular in Israel, but nowhere close to the level he reportedly mentioned. Several public opinion polls from the past two years have shown that approximately two-thirds of Israelis have a favorable view of him.
With regards to the Democrats, Trump claimed that the party “hates Jewish people.” It should be noted that more than 70 percent of American Jews voted for Democratic candidates in the 2018 midterm elections, and for Hilary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. The top Democrat in the Senate, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, is Jewish.
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Trump made similar comments last week, leading to strong criticism from Jewish American groups and Jewish Democratic lawmakers. Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Jewish American lawmaker from Maryland, said "the president should really be careful about entering into this whole terrain." He added that Trump was "lucky that he escaped being named" in the congressional resolution denouncing anti-Semitism and other forms of hate. Raskin called Trump’s accusation against the Democrats "absurd" during an interview with CNN.
Florida Rep. Ted Deutch, one of the Democrats who criticized the resolution and said he would have preferred one specifically denouncing anti-Semitism, also attacked Trump for his partisan remarks.
"I condemn the use of anti-Semitism by my colleagues, Democrat and Republican, AND by your campaign," Deutch tweeted. "This isn’t political. It’s life and death. Please stop."
Halie Sofer, executive director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, said: "We are appalled, but not surprised, that President Trump has once again demonstrated dishonesty, hypocrisy, and willingness to use anti-Semitism and Israel as a political football."
The American Jewish Committee wrote on Twitter that “while dissenters in both parties exist, there is overwhelming consensus on the U.S.-Israel relationship and the fight against anti-Semitism. The last thing needed is to turn these issues into partisan wedges."
J Street released a video criticizing Congress Republicans for cynically using anti-Semitism to hinder a vote on the ongoing civil war in Yemen. The video explained how Republicans in the House of Representatives added language about anti-Semitism to a resolution on the war which then allowed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConell to used that as a technicality not to hold a vote on the resolution in the Senate.
Yair Rosenberg, a journalist for Tablet Magazine, tweeted: "This is your periodic reminder that Donald Trump is a bigoted hypocrite who only condemns prejudice when it's useful to him, and happily deploys it himself for the same reason. He is not a credible authority on racism, anti-Semitism or anything close, unless as a cautionary tale."