Donald Trump is not responsible for the anti-Semitic abuse of journalists by his fans or for the views of some of his supporters and has no time to keep denouncing anti-Semitism, longtime aide and advisor to Donald Trump, Jason Greenblatt, said on Wednesday.
“I do not think Mr. Trump can be responsible for people who are anti-Semitic who support him,” Greenblatt said in a Wednesday morning interview with Nachum Segal on “JM in the AM” radio program. “He has come out clearly against anti-Semitism.”
Greenblatt referred to a laconic statement Trump gave to the New York Times in disavowing comments made by David Duke. “Anti-Semitism has no place our society, which needs to be united, not divided,” said Trump.
“I was in his office when he called the New York Times, about two weeks ago, to denounce the statements made by David Duke,” he said. “And he has said it countless times. It really bothers me that people think that he constantly has to repeat statements he has said before. I just think that they have to understand that he has a campaign to run, he has an election to win, and he can’t keep going around saying ‘I denounce anti-Semitism.’ He said it clearly and emphatically on multiple times.”
ADL’s CEO Jonathan Greenblatt has urged Trump to denounce the barrage of anti-Semitic comments by some of his supporters on social media. “The onus is now on Donald Trump to make unequivocally clear he rejects those sentiments and that there is no room for .. anti-Semitism in his campaign and in society,” Greenblatt said in a statement last month. But Trump refused to do so during an interview with CNN. “I don’t have a message to the fans,” he said.
On Wednesday, the Anti-Defamation League announced it is forming a task force to combat hate speech and anti-Semitic harassment towards journalists on social media following a series of disturbing incidents where Jewish journalists covering the 2016 presidential campaign have been targets of anti-Semitic abuse. Two of the victims, Julia Ioffe and Bethany Mandel, have been named as advisors to the task force.
Greenblatt insisted that anti-Semitic abuse on social media shouldn’t just be attributed to Trump fans. “Even on my own Twitter feed I try not to look at the comments, but there are plenty of times that I simply cannot resist, and the same people keep coming up with the same anti-Semitic stance and statements,” he stated.
Greenblatt also took part on Wednesday in a discussion about his experience in working with Trump for almost two decades at the JBiz Expo, hosted by the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce (OJC), at the NJ Convention & Exposition Center in Edison, New Jersey.
“I think the media does a very big disservice to Donald [Trump] – not all media, but plenty of media,” he said. ” think what they do in order to garner ratings and sell ads, is they take sound-bites, they take a comment, and they turn those into stories which go far beyond what was actually said, or was actually meant. And then that becomes the news of the day.”
Greenblatt suggested that when people watch or read news about Trump, they should go “beyond the one story” to “really understand what happened.”
“Perhaps watch the YouTube video, see things in context and really understand who Donald is or what his position on Israel is,” he said. “Be deep thinkers; be more thoughtful about the story because sometimes newspaper stories, or other stories that you hear, are either biased, inaccurate, or not deep enough.”
Discussing his work as Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer at The Trump Organization, Greenblatt shared with the audience his personal experience in negotiating with his boss a pay raise:
“A good number of years ago, maybe when I was at the company about three years, so perhaps seventeen years ago. At that point, my then boss is the general counsel and I’m asking for raises for me. That year, for whatever reason, he decided to let me go it on my own. At that point, I had not had a lot of interaction with Mr. Trump and it took me a while to summon up the courage to go in. I was waiting for the right moment. I summoned up the courage one day when I thought it was a good day, it was quiet. I went into his office at the end of the day, which I’d personally say, at the end of the day people are tired. Maybe not the best time, even knowing that I was not going to budge. I went in and I asked him if he had a few minutes, and his eyes narrowed – he’s so smart. Before I even walked in the room he probably knew what I was doing. I asked him if we could talk about the compensation, and he was not unhappy to talk about it at the moment. And he was definitely very strong in terms of how he handled the conversation. I would say that in twenty years he has been such a great guy all the time. There was one time that he and I had a little disconnect. I remember leaving the office thinking, I don’t think it was accomplished because he was quiet, ‘Oh no, it was a terrible time.’ He describes it (in his book) as if he and I were together most of the day. I knew it was a terrible day, and although he called me a brilliant guy, how could I choose such a bad time to go in? But the end of the story is [that] it took me two and half months to go back in because I didn’t feel comfortable doing it. But I went in at the right time. I’d been working on a real good transaction, and we had a great conversation about the transaction, and then I just felt right this time. I asked for it, and he was very receptive to it, and he asked how much I wanted, and I asked for more money than [what] I was going to ask for in the first place. And I got it!”
Photo by Jacob Kornbluh