Eric Trump said Wednesday that journalist Bob Woodward's appearance on CNN had earned him "three extra shekels," prompting accusations that the U.S. president's son had used an anti-Semitic dog whistle.
"Don’t you think people look through the fact, you can write some sensational, nonsense book, CNN will definitely have you on there because they love to trash the president," Trump said on Fox News, referring to "Fear," Woodward's book.
"It’ll mean you sell three extra books, you make three extra shekels, at the behest of the American people, at the behest of our country, that’s doing a phenomenal job by every quantifiable metric."
The remark, which was not prompted by any discussion about Israel or Jews, swiftly elicited outrage on Twitter.
Yair Rosenberg, senior writer at Tablet Magazine, tweeted: "The only people who refer to being paid off as wanting 'extra shekels' are Israelis speaking Hebrew and anti-Semites speaking English outside Israel. Eric Trump doesn't speak Hebrew, so you know exactly why he has been reading online."
Bill Kristol, the founder and editor-at-large of The Weekly Standard, tweeted a poll asking whether Eric Trump was "too stupid to know he's being anti-Semitic," with one option being "not mutually exclusive."
Jonathan Weisman, the deputy Washington editor of the New York Times, called the remark "outrageous" and compared it to content in the neo-Nazi publication The Daily Stormer. "Eric Trump's 'three extra shekels' attack on Bob Woodward is not some accident any more than Hillary Clinton's image over a Star of David," Weisman wrote, referencing a social media post by Donald Trump during the 2016 election campaign that included an image of Democratic rival Hillary Clinton against a background of cash and a Star of David. (Trump said the star could have been a sheriff's star "or plain star!")
Shane Goldmacher, chief Metro political correspondent for the New York Times, recalled an incident at a Trump rally in the last week of the 2016 election campaign in which a man shouted at reporters for selling out "for a few shekels."
Matt Gertz, senior fellow at Media Matters, took the opportunity for some wry humor, tweeting: "Very few people know this but the weather machine is coin-operated, three shekels per use," in reference to the anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that Jews control the weather.