Last week when asked about his administration “playing with xenophobia and maybe racist tones” during a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Trump responded by bragging about his electoral win. So that was a no to empathy, let alone leadership.
After mounting pressure during which the Trump administration clung to dangerous, Holocaust-denial type beliefs, Trump was forced to finally say something about the growing anti-Semitism and racism under him and all he could scrounge up Tuesday morning were comments so lacking in courage the Anne Frank Center called them, “a Band-Aid on the cancer of anti-Semitism that has infected his own Administration.”
The President finally managed a weak and cowardly, “a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil.” Trump read this script like a hostage, with no energy and with clear resentment and even hostility to the message. Watch here:
Trump: anti-Semitic threats targeting Jews are “a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate & prejudice & evil” pic.twitter.com/amGUFjnxw3
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) February 21, 2017
When Trump is looking to root out hate, prejudice and evil, one wonders how he missed his own 2020 “campaign rally” last weekend, which he spent spewing hate against Democrats. This was not the action of someone who wants to unite the country.
This is a man who has not apologized for suggesting his 2016 opponent might be shot if she won. The entire Trump movement is a movement built on bigotry, sexism and racism. That is a feature, not a bug. So when he filled his administration with leading hate-filled trolls of the country, white supremacists and their ilk, it was not a surprise.
What’s all of the fuss about, some might be asking. Are the “special snowflakes” on the left just “whining” about “safe places”? Why does Trump being a figurehead of anti-Semitism matter?
To those people, I offer the anti-Semitic hate sent to Jewish journalists by Trump supporters during the 2016 campaign. “Don’t mess with our boy Trump or you will be first in line for the camp,” was but one of them, and that message was reinforced with a picture of Politico journalist Hadas Gold with a bullet hole in her forehead, wearing the yellow badge the Nazis used to mark Jews.
“Beyond hateful language, users often photoshop journalists’ faces into images from the Holocaust, like Jews lined up to get food in concentration camps or lying in bunks in barracks,” the Atlantic detailed. “Users might share cartoons that depict ugly stereotypes about Jews, showing them with big noses and surrounded by piles of money. The Atlantic’s editor in chief, Jeffrey Goldberg, was one of the handful of most frequently targeted journalists. In June, he wrote about some of the tweets he’s recently received, including a cartoon of the U.S. “Jewpreme Court,” a picture of money coming out of an oven, and a tweet that asked, ‘Why do Jews get so triggered when we mention ovens?’”
That is the kind of hate Trump knew about and not only said nothing about, but under which he retweeted white supremacists and neo-Nazis. So it will take more than a general, rote reading of a script to lead his people out of their sick hatefest.
The Anne Frank Center calls Trump’s comments today “a Band-Aid on the cancer of Anti-Semitism that has infected his own Administration”
The Anne Frank Center calls Trump's comments today "a Band-Aid on the cancer of Anti-Semitism that has infected his own Administration" pic.twitter.com/N29s6AXvv8
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) February 21, 2017
If Trump really thought anti-Semitism were horrible, he would fire the people in his own administration who have propagated such hatred. It is not enough to suggest he is “pro-Israel”.
Trump cheerleader Rick Santorum blamed anti-Semitism on the first black President this morning. Nothing says caring about racism and anti-Semitism like the leader of the birther movement having a surrogate blame his victim, President Obama, for the racism and anti-Semitism he stoked and continues to stoke.
The devoted Birther conspiracy artist claimed today that he denounces anti-Semitism all of the time, but there is no evidence of this. In fact journalists around the world have noted the rise in racism and anti-Semitism in the Trump administration.
More empty words by Trump, and the Anne Frank Center isn’t buying.
Trump has not found the courage or desire to work yet to actually lead the country, let alone unite it. Trump seems to live for the moments when he can forage for his empty message and needy emotional state by insulting and demeaning others.
This is why Trump’s entire administration is centered around troll type figures, people who landed in spam boxes the country wide before Trump plucked them from conspiracy-ridden obscurity to put them in charge of advising him on policy and national security.
So you see, hate-filled campaign rhetoric leads to hate-filled policies. And that is why this is a BFD.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.