U.S. Senator and 2020 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders responded to U.S. President Donald Trump’s comment Tuesday that Jews who vote for Democrats are showing a "lack of knowledge or great disloyalty."
“I am a proud Jewish person, and I have no concerns about voting Democratic,” Sanders told a cheering crowd while campaigning in Sioux City, Iowa.
“And in fact, I intend to vote for a Jewish man to become the next president of the United States,” he added.
Trump’s claim triggered a quick uproar from critics who said the Republican president was trading in anti-Semitic stereotypes. It came amid Trump’s ongoing feud with Democratic congresswomen Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, both Muslim.
Sanders has been a fierce critic of Trump's attacks on Tlaib and Omar. on August 15th, Sanders tweeted in response to Israel's initial ban of the lawmakers:
"It is disgusting that a bigot like Trump is attacking @RashidaTlaib and @IlhanMN in this way. Opposing Netanyahu's policies is not 'hating the Jewish people.' We must stand together against those who promote hatred and racism in Israel, Palestine, the U.S. and everywhere."
Trump has closely aligned himself with Israel, including its conservative prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while the Muslim lawmakers have been outspoken critics of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. Tlaib is a U.S.-born Palestinian American, while Omar was born in Somalia.
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“Where has the Democratic Party gone? Where have they gone where they are defending these two people over the state of Israel?” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. “I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.”
At Trump’s urging, Israel last week blocked Omar and Tlaib from entering the country. Israel later agreed to a humanitarian visit for Tlaib to visit her grandmother, who lives in the West Bank. Tlaib declined, saying her grandmother had ultimately urged her not to come under what they considered to be humiliating circumstances.