One of the most baffling aspects of Donald Trump’s lead in the Republican presidential primaries is his unflinching habit of insulting huge segments of the population. Add another group to that list, as the billionaire spent Thursday voicing Jewish stereotypes in front of the Republican Jewish Coalition.
Through one comment or another, Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump has alienated also every demographic. Mexican immigrants were the target of his announcement speech. He’s made perceived sexist statements, about opponents Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina, in particular. He’s tweeted statistics about black-on-black crime. He’s been accused of disliking Muslims. He called all of Iowa “stupid”. Only last week he mocked a disabled reporter. And, of course, he’s no friend of Rosie O’Donnell.
But until Thursday, Trump had managed to avoid accusations of anti-Semitism. That was, until, he delivered a speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition.
“Stupidly, you want to give me money,” he began, after trying to build up some credibility based on the fact that his daughter, Ivanka, converted to Judaism in 2009. “…You’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money.”
While it certainly seems Trump is wading into some dicey territory already, things get even worse when he brings up his qualms with the Pentagon’s spending $43 million to build a gas station in Afghanistan.
“How many of you could have done it for less?” he asked. “I’m a negotiator, like you folks,” he went on, addressing the Iran nuclear deal.
”Is there anyone in this room who doesn’t negotiate deals?” he added. “Probably more than any room I’ve ever spoken.”
By the end of the speech, Trump had received boos from the crowd for his refusal to back the idea of an undivided Jerusalem.
Despite a number of tweets and articles that swiftly condemned the presidential hopeful, the Jewish Anti-Defamation League defended Trump.
“After having carefully reviewed the speech, we do not believe that it was Donald Trump’s intention to evoke anti-Semitic stereotypes,” Jonathan Greenblatt, the group’s CEO, said in a statement. “[He] has made similar comments about spending his own money on the campaign, and not asking for money from donors, to many other groups.”
Given his track-record for surviving controversies that would have sunk any other candidate, it seems unlikely that Thursday’s speech will affect Trump’s popularity. Still, at this point, he must really be counting on white evangelicals to come out to the polls.
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