Donald Trump, the man who normalized and elevated white supremacists after one of them killed an innocent woman in Charlottesville, the man who just mocked the Trail of Tears (i.e., genocide of Native American people), told White House pool reporters that he thinks Rep. Ilhan Omar should resign over her seemingly unintentional anti-Semitic comment.
Regarding Rep. Ilhan Omar’s comments, Trump said, “I think she should either resign from congress or she should certainly resign from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.”
Here is Rep. Omar’s full apology:
Listening and learning, but standing strong 💪🏽 pic.twitter.com/7TSroSf8h1
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) February 11, 2019
Trump said her comments are “deep seeded in her heart” and called her apology “lame,” according to a White House pool report sent to PoliticusUSA.
What would Trump know about apologies? He has never made a sincere one that I can recall. He doesn’t apologize, he blames, doubles down, strikes out, harms the wounded, and cries foul when called out on his own behavior and choices.
The one time Trump managed to say the right thing, after being pressured by aides, was after the uproar over his comments blaming “both sides” for the murder by a white supremacist during the deadly Charlottesville rally. That took a lot of pressure, and even then, he reportedly regretted it. Trump called his condemnation of white supremacists the “biggest f—king mistake” he had ever made, according to an excerpt from Bob Woodward’s new book.
Trump has not only been given one more chance, but so many chances that it has become painful to witness the ongoing ignoring of his daily racist, hurtful, bigoted, divisive comments.
What about all of the hate Trump has stirred up against Jewish people? He is not held accountable for this by the media.
Hate crimes against Jewish Americans rose by more than a third in 2017, according to the FBI. And hate crimes increased by 17% in 2017.
Trump’s false fear-mongering about the caravan motivated the shooter of the Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue, where a gunman killed 11 worshipers. The anti-Semitic right wing conspiracy that George Soros was funding the caravan pointed the finger at Jewish people.
Protesters held an anti-Trump rally during his unwanted visit to Pittsburgh after the massacre at the Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue, during which one group of protesters chanted, “President hate, leave our state,” while others yelled, “Words have meaning.”
Pittsburgh Jewish leaders asked Trump to denounce white nationalism. They pointed out, in a letter signed by 43,000 members of the public,“For the past three years your words and your policies have emboldened a growing white nationalist movement.”
“In the Jewish tradition, when you enter a house of mourning the tradition is you do not speak, you listen,” said Tammy Hepps, member of the Bend the Arc steering committee. “I pray that he listens to what we have to say and anyone else has to say who is mourning.”
Trump supporters smeared the Pittsburgh “No Antisemitism, No White Supremacy, No Trump” protest. Donald Trump Jr liked the tweet smearing the protesters, people who were deep in grief.
That would be an example of a lame apology, except that Trump never apologized for his rhetoric.
Trump called the protests “make believe” and “fake.”
Trump is no one to judge, because he has not once shown that he has a value or principle about cruel comments. Ironically, his wife Melania claims bullying to be her First Lady issue, but she has not managed to either recognize or rein in her husband’s daily bullying from the biggest bully pulpit in the world.
And actually, Ilhan’s apology seemed sincere, because of her approach and willingness to hear and believe the voices of those who experience anti-Semitism. She didn’t call them snowflakes and tell them to get over it, or pretend that they were at fault and attacking her over nothing. She didn’t play the victim.
Journalist and historian David M. Perry wrote an opinion column for CNN pointing out that he had not been called a “kike” until the election of Donald Trump, “She clearly meant it as a comment on the power of lobbyists, but it inadvertently invoked long-standing tropes of wealthy Jewish cabals exerting influence. The ensuing political firestorm revealed just how hard it is to maintain solidarity in the face of the oppressive forces that want to divide and conquer. The solution is this: Listen. Believe people when they reach out to you in good faith. Ignore bad-faith hypocrites. Apologize if necessary. Then we can move forward together.”
Ignore bad faith hypocrites. That advice can’t be stressed enough, as Republicans continue to weaponize issues of racism and bigotry and sexual assault for their own political ends, while enabling it and justifying it when their own do it.
The Democratic House leaders demanded that Omar apologize for the anti-Semitic comments, and she did. Is that enough?
Only the victims of negative myths can determine when an apology is sincere, but the marks of it are a willingness to listen, a lack of defensiveness, a lack of self-protective ego that clouds the issue.
Donald Trump is not on the list of people whose character and actions give them credence or moral authority on hate speech.
Donald Trump’s speech, and his Republican and sometimes liberal enablers (those who refuse to stand up to it and just want to be “nice”), is a festering toxic volcano of hate, poised to erupt at any moment. And guess who won’t take an ounce of responsibility for it.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA.
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 has won two Telly Awards and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.