Trump: Jewish Donors Want Control Over Electeds
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump toyed with Jewish donors on Thursday as he addressed the Republican Jewish Coalition Presidential Forum in DC.
“You are not going to support me even though you know I am the best thing that could happen for Israel. I know why you are not going to support me. You’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money,” Trump told a full auditorium of Jewish donors and Republican Jewish supporters. “You want to control your own politicians.”
But, in the same breath, the Republican presidential hopeful said, “I would love your support.”
“I am going to win,” he went on to tease the crowd, who in return burst out in laughter. “Unless something happens — I cross the street, and the wrong thing happens… I believe I am going to win.”
Earlier in his speech, Trump poked the crowd by saying, “Stupidly, you want to give money. Adding, “You just like me because my daughter (Ivanka) happens to be Jewish.”
Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer called Trump’s remarks “offensive.”
“The reason Trump will not get the support of Jewish donors is because he’s not serious enough on policy,” Fleischer told Jewish Insider. “To suggest that donors want to control their politicians is offensive.”
Trump also missed an opportunity to clarify his comments to The Associated Press, in which he questioned Israel’s commitment to peace. “I don’t know that Israel has the commitment to make it. I don’t know that the other side has the commitment to make it. With that being said, I have a good chance,” he repeated. “If you’re going to make a deal – and you can make a great deal – you can’t go in with the attitude that you’re going to shut it down. You’ve got to go in and do it nicely so everyone’s happy.”
He did, however, state that Israel is not being given enough credit for the concessions they’ve already made.
Trump drew loud boos from the audience as he refused to declare Israel was the undivided capital of Israel. “Can I at least pin you down on Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel? Is that a position you support?” RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks asked.
“You know what I want to do? I want to wait until I meet with Bibi,” Trump replied. As he was loudly jeered by an audible member in the room, Trump turned to his left and asked, “Who’s the wise guy? Do me a favor, just relax. You’ll like me very much, believe me. Don’t worry about it.”
Trump also drew attention as he referred to the audience as “businesspeople” when he spoke about renegotiating the Iran nuclear deal. “I’m a negotiator like you folks, we’re negotiators,” Trump said. “Is there anyone in this room who doesn’t negotiate deals? This room negotiates a lot. This room perhaps more than any room I’ve ever spoken to.” The crowd nodded their heads in dismay.
Jonathan Greenblatt, the Anti-Defamation League’s CEO, said that after having carefully reviewed the speech, the ADL does not believe “that it was Donald Trump’s intention to evoke anti-Semitic stereotypes.”
“He has made similar comments about spending his own money on the campaign, and not asking for money from donors, to many other groups,” said Greenblatt in a statement. “Here, context is everything. Mr. Trump’s presentation was completely supportive of Israel and the Jewish community, even if one might disagree with him on some of the other issues he raised.”
“In this case he is speaking to a group of Jewish Republicans, a significant portion of whom are business people. We do not believe he intended his comments regarding negotiations and money to relate specifically to their Jewishness,” he explained.
Nonetheless, Greenblatt encouraged Trump to “clarify that this was not his intention and that he rejects the traditional stereotypes about Jews and money.”
Former ADL national director Abe Foxman, however, differed with his successor: “Somebody should give Donald Trump a copy of my book “Jews and Money-story of stereotype,”” Foxman told Jewish Insider. “For someone who claims to be so smart, he should know better than to reinforce and legitimize this history old anti-Semitic canard.”