The Anti-Semite-in-Chief: Despite Ivanka and Jared (and Steven), President Trump spells trouble for the Jews.

Author:Gorenberg, Gershom
Position::OPINION
 
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Don't be silly. His daughter is an Orthodox Jew. She and her husband are his closest advisers. He appointed Jews to top economic positions. He couldn't be an anti-Semite.

How many times have you heard that argument about Donald Trump? Probably after each incident of what surely sounds like anti-Jewish speech by Trump--as candidate and then as president--and quite a few times in between. Ivanka and Jared are his magic amulets, purportedly protecting him from any charges of bigotry against Jews. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and a few other appointees are the beads hanging from the amulet, supposedly increasing its power.

And yet the Ivanka argument is worth about as much as other magic amulets: nothing at all. In general, "Some of my best friends are..." is never proof that a person isn't a bigot. The slightly more thoughtful haters can explain why their best friend is different from all the other Jews, or blacks, or Muslims, or women. There's no reason to think Trump is thoughtful enough for the contradiction to bother him.

But that's not the whole story. The not-at-all-unusual character of Trump's anti-Semitic thinking, combined with his very particular bundle of resentment and insecurity, make sense of his words and actions toward Jews. He believes classic anti-Semitic canards, shares paranoid fantasies about Jews--and wants a few around him.

Let's look at several of Trump's better-known statements relating to Jews.

In the midst of a racist rant about "lazy" black accountants, Trump once told the head of one of his hotels, "The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day." Trump, size-obsessed, obviously meant "short" as disparaging. In translation, "Jews are fixated on and good with money. I'd like some working for me, as long as they know who's in charge and that I'm better-looking."

That comment was reported in a 1991 book. Trump first acknowledged that it was "probably true," then later denied it. You can judge between the affirmation and the denial with the help of his widely reported speech in December 2015 to the Republican Jewish Coalition.

"Is there anyone in this room who doesn't negotiate deals? Probably more than any room I've ever spoken [in]," Trump said, adding, "And I know why you're not going to support me. You're not going to support me because I don't want your money. Isn't it crazy? You want to control your own politician."

Pretty straightforward. For Donald, Jews are...

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