President Donald Trump spoke to members of the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas Saturday and seemed to suggest that Jews and Israelis are one and the same. “I stood with your prime minister at the White House to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights,” Trump said referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
It wasn’t an isolated moment either, there were other times in his address in which the commander in chief appeared to conflate Jews and Israelis. It also happened at a point when Trump was railing against Democrats, who he accused of pushing “by far the most extreme, anti-Semitic agenda in history.” He then went on to warn that if Democrats were to be successful their “radical agenda could very well leave Israel out there all by yourselves.”
Earlier in his speech, Trump mocked Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. “Special thanks to Representative Omar of Minnesota,” Trump said. “Oh, I forgot. She doesn’t like Israel. I forgot. I’m so sorry.” Trump made the comment a day after one of his supporters was charged with making a death threat against Omar. Trump’s mention of the freshman lawmaker also seemed particularly galling considering she had been accused of anti-Semitism because some claimed a comment she made suggested American Jews have a “dual loyalty” to both Israel and the United States.
The president also took it upon himself to mock asylum seekers in front of the Jewish audience. “The asylum program is a scam,” Trump said. “Some of the roughest people that you’ve ever seen. People that look like they should be fighting for the UFC. They read a little page given by lawyers that are all over the place. They tell them what to say. You look at this guy, you say, wow, that’s a tough cookie.” He also made fun of those who support asylum seekers, portraying them as naïve. “Oh, give him asylum—he’s afraid, he’s afraid!” Trump said.
“We don’t love the fact that he’s got tattoos on his face, that’s not a good sign. We don’t love the fact that he’s carrying the flag of Honduras or Guatemala or El Salvador, only to say he’s petrified to be in his country.”
Support our independent journalism
Readers like you make our work possible. Help us continue to provide the reporting, commentary, and criticism you won’t find anywhere else.Join Slate Plus