by Eli Clifton
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Donald Trump didn’t hold his tongue at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s candidate forum. Trump delivered one of his trademark unfiltered, unscripted stump speeches in which he riffed off a series of anti-Semitic stereotypes. But what was remarkable was that the conservative Jewish group, backed by GOP megadonors such as Sheldon Adelson and Paul Singer, seemed to delight in Trump’s casual embrace of crude and historically troubling characterizations of Jews.
The New York real estate mogul’s quips included:
- Referring to the largely Jewish audience as “negotiators.”
- Asking “Is there anybody who doesn’t renegotiate deals in this room?” And, answering his own question: “Perhaps more than any other room I’ve ever spoken to.”
- Claiming that Republican Jews should support him because he’s “the best thing that could ever happen to Israel,” but they won’t support him because he doesn’t “want your money.”
Trump’s comments could easily be interpreted as endorsements of the anti-Semitic tropes that Jews are cheap, constantly negotiating to get better deals, and hold dual-loyalties to the U.S. and Israel.
Surprisingly, the audience at the RJC forum seemed to find Trump’s comments humorous and laughed and applauded at many of his invocations of anti-Semitic stereotypes. And RJC spokesperson Mark McNulty downplayed the idea that Trump’s comments were offensive or filled with anti-Semitic stereotypes.
“Donald Trump is well aware of the composition of our board and our audience — one that includes many successful businessmen and women as well as deal makers like him,” McNulty told CNN. Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt responded to Trump’s RJC appearance, saying, “we do not believe that it was Donald Trump’s intention to evoke anti-Semitic stereotypes” but urged him to clarify his remarks.
An edited video of Trumps quips about Jews is viewable below: