This article was originally published on Jewish Insider.
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The Hillary Clinton campaign on Monday scolded Donald Trump for defending his Saturday tweet, which included an image of Clinton and a Star of David created by a racist Twitter user and first posted on a white-supremacist website.
“Donald Trump’s use of a blatantly anti-Semitic image from racist websites to promote his campaign would be disturbing enough, but the fact that it’s a part of a pattern should give voters major cause for concern,” the Clinton campaign’s Director of Jewish Outreach, Sarah Bard, said in a statement.
“Now, not only won’t he apologize for it, he’s peddling lies and blaming others. Trump should be condemning hate, not offering more campaign behavior and rhetoric that engages extremists. The president should be someone who brings Americans together, not someone who sends signals and offers policies of division.”
On Monday, almost 48 hours after he first tweeted the controversial meme and and replacing it later with a circle pasted over the star, Trump tweeted, “Dishonest media is trying their absolute best to depict a star in a tweet as the Star of David rather than a sheriff’s star, or a plain star!”
A Trump advisor, Ed Brookover, insisted during a Monday morning appearance on CNN, “There was never any intention of any anti-Semitism” and that the campaign “corrected” the tweet.
“There’s no anti-Semitism in Mr. Trump’s body, not one ounce, not one cell,” he said.
Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO, told national media outlets on Sunday that it was long overdue for Trump as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee to “forcefully reject” anti-Semitism “with a clarity and energy he’s brought to the campaign trail when going after other candidates.”
Greenblatt said that the campaign’s decision to delete the tweet was a “step in the right direction,” but said “it just boggles the mind” that the Trump campaign would use such an image.
“It’s an interesting question to ask, why is your fact-finding department focusing on fiction, and how a major presidential campaign can be looking at racist websites or anti-Semitic sections of other online sources and using it to find content to share with the American public,” Greenblatt said on CNN Monday morning. “The fact of the matter is, these bigoted and prejudicial ideas, they don’t belong in the public conversation and that’s why we are speaking out.”
In a statement late Monday, the Trump campaign pushed back, insisting the star had no connection to the star of David and blaming Clinton for the ‘ridiculous’ anti-Semitism charge.
“These false attacks by Hillary Clinton trying to link the Star of David with a basic star, often used by sheriffs who deal with criminals and criminal behavior, showing an inscription that says “Crooked Hillary is the most corrupt candidate ever” with anti-Semitism is ridiculous,” the statement read. “Clinton, through her surrogates, is just trying to divert attention from the dishonest behavior of herself and her husband. The real questions are, why was Bill Clinton meeting secretly with the US Attorney General on her case and where are the 33,000 missing emails and all of the other information missing from her case – Why are there so many lies?”
Dan Scavino, Trump’s confidant and social media director, admitted in a statement that he selected the image “from an anti-Hillary Twitter user where countless images appear.”
“The sheriff’s badge – which is available under Microsoft’s “shapes” – fit with the theme of corrupt Hillary and that is why I selected it,” Scavino said in a statement posted on Trump’s Facebook page. “As the Social Media Director for the campaign, I would never offend anyone and therefore chose to remove the image.”
The ADL refused to accept Trump’s explanation. “Donald Trump should stop playing the blame game and accept that his campaign tweeted an image with obvious anti-Semitic overtones and that, reportedly, was lifted from a white supremacist website,” the ADL said in a statement Monday night. “It’s long past time for Trump to unequivocally reject the hate-filled extremists orbiting around his campaign and take a stand against anti-Semitism, bigotry, and hate.”
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