On Monday, two days after a mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue fueled by a toxic cocktail of nativism and anti-Semitism, the Trump administration—presumably looking to give the impression of compassion for Jewish communities deeply shaken by the attack—had a rabbi open with an invocation before Vice President Mike Pence’s campaign event in Michigan. However, in possibly the most on-brand move yet from the Trump administration, the Pence team managed to make the prayer not only controversial, but bafflingly offensive as well, by ceding the stage to a Messianic Jewish rabbi, Loren Jacobs of Synagogue Shema Yisrael, to lead a prayer, “Jesus the Messiah.”
Messianic Jews, commonly known as “Jews for Jesus,” are not considered Jewish at all by most mainstream Jewish groups, and their embrace by evangelical Christians is often considered offensive, even anti-Semitic.
When asked about Jacobs’ inflammatory presence, the vice president’s staff said that he was not invited to “speak on behalf of the Jewish community.” No kidding.
These are the guys legit running the country right now.