The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) called for Joe Biden to apologize for comparing U.S. President Donald Trump to Joseph Goebbels while discussing the challenges of debating Trump ahead of Tuesday’s debate in Cleveland, Ohio.
“He’s sort of like [Joseph] Goebbels,” Biden said of Trump in reference to the Nazi propagandist. “You say the lie long enough, keep repeating it, repeating it, repeating it, it becomes common knowledge.”
Biden, the Democratic Party’s nominee for president, made the comments Saturday in an interview with MSNBC, in which he explained debating Trump “is going to be difficult.”
“My guess is, it’s going to be just a straight attack,” Biden continued, “They’re going to be mostly personal. That’s the only thing he knows how to do.”
In a statement, RJC chief Matt Brooks said: “The rule in debate is that if your only argument is to call your opponent a Nazi, you have no argument at all … We call on Joe Biden to retract and apologize for that egregious comment.”
“Democrats like to say they have a majority of the Jewish vote,” Brook told AP this week, while his group is spending $10 million to boost Trump and other GOP candidates in battleground states. “They do — but that’s not what this game is about.”
With battleground states like Pennsylvania, Florida and Michigan decided in 2016 by fewer than a combined 200,000 votes, any loss of the Jewish support by Democratic nominee Joe Biden could be pivotal.
- Liberal Zionists, it’s time to admit: AOC just doesn’t want to be your friend
- COVID-19 failure of right-wing populists like Trump and Netanyahu hardly a coincidence
- Key Amy Coney Barrett quotes on religion, precedent, abortion and more
Brooks’ group is aiming for 300,000 voter contacts in swing states, focusing the bulk of its spending on Trump while also aiding some GOP congressional hopefuls. Last week’s signing of the Israel-United Arab Emirates agreement, which Bahrain later joined, “proves that the president does have a vision” for working toward peace in the Middle East, Brooks said.
The Trump campaign is ramping up its own efforts as well, launching a “Jewish Voices for Trump” initiative in September centering on his support for Israel. Co-chairs include casino mogul and conservative donor Sheldon Adelson and former White House aide Boris Epshteyn.
“President Trump is a champion of the Jewish people and the greatest ally the State of Israel has ever had,” Epshteyn, who also advises Trump’s campaign, said in a statement.
But whether Trump can gain ground with Jewish voters on the strength of his foreign policy agenda remains an unanswered question. According to a Pew Research Center poll conducted last year, 42% of Jewish Americans said Trump’s policies favor the Israelis too much, while 47% said he strikes the right balance between Israelis and Palestinians.
And most Jewish voters broke for Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections. AP VoteCast found that 72% of Jews who voted nationwide backed Democratic House candidates, while 26% backed Republicans. Among those Jewish midterm voters in 2018, VoteCast shows that 74% disapproved of Trump and just 26% approved.
The majority of Jewish voters who view Trump unfavorably “are not going to put (that) out of their minds” because the president can trumpet new pacts between Gulf states and Israel, said Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of the liberal-leaning Jewish American advocacy group J Street.