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Trump says Jews who back Democrats show ignorance or 'disloyalty'

President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of

President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House on Tuesday Credit: AP/Alex Brandon

He's feeling passed over

In a play to his pro-Israel evangelical base as much as anyone, Donald Trump portrays Palestinian-sympathetic Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib as the new face of the Democratic Party. They "hate Israel and all Jewish people," the president said.

On Tuesday, Trump expressed exasperation with Jews who aren't lining up behind him.

"I think that any Jewish people who vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. (See the video). Trump's description would apply to a majority of Jewish voters — 78% backed Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections, according to Pew Research Center.

Disloyal to what or who? America? Israel? Other Jews? Trump? He didn't say. An irony is that one of the Omar comments that drew the sharpest condemnation from Democratic colleagues and Jewish organizations was an anti-Semitic trope about U.S. Jews showing dual loyalty to the U.S. and Israel.

Yet many of those same groups and colleagues attacked Trump for egging on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to block a visit by Omar and Tlaib to Israel and the West Bank. Both Trump and Netanyahu were accused of undermining Israel's long-standing bipartisan support for their short-term political interests. Reaction to Trump's disloyalty comment underscored the growing divide.

Halie Soifer, executive director of Jewish Democratic Council of America, denounced it as "yet another example of Donald Trump continuing to weaponize and politicize anti-Semitism." She continued: "If this is about Israel, then Trump is repeating a dual loyalty claim, which is a form of anti-Semitism. If this is about Jews being 'loyal' to him, then Trump needs a reality check."

The Republican Jewish Coalition chose a more benign interpretation. “President Trump is right, it shows a great deal of disloyalty to oneself to defend a party that protects/emboldens people that hate you for your religion,” it said,

Sharpening the tax knife

Trump on Tuesday confirmed what White House aides had spent the past day denying: he is examining “various tax reductions,” including a payroll tax cut. Trump insisted it's not in response to signs of a potential recession, reports Newsday's Laura Figueroa Hernandez.

“We're, right now, the No. 1 country anywhere in the world, by far, as an economy," Trump said, adding that “we're very far from a recession.”

But cracks are showing. United States Steel Corp. will temporarily lay off hundreds of workers  at its Great Lakes facility in Michigan in coming weeks. The company has cited lower steel prices and softening demand. Trump has claimed a resurgence of the domestic steel industry, helped along by his tariff on imports.

Viral fears for migrants

Trump is an admitted germaphobe, but his administration isn't very concerned about the threat of flu outbreaks among migrants detained in crowded conditions at the border.

CNBC reported the U.S. won't be vaccinating migrant families in holding centers ahead of this year's flu season, despite calls from doctors to boost efforts to fight the infection that's killed at least three children at detention facilities in the past year.

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection statement said, "In general, due to the short-term nature of CBP holding and the complexities of operating vaccination programs, neither CBP nor its medical contractors administer vaccinations to those in our custody."

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University and an adviser to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Protection, told CNN: "I think their answer is completely inappropriate. They ought to be able to do this. They create facilities that encourage the spread of infectious agents, with flu at the top of the list."

No sale? No Trump!

Now that the leader of Denmark has made it clear she has no interest in selling Greenland to the United States, Trump no longer deigns to see her.

"Based on Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s comments, that she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland, I will be postponing our meeting scheduled in two weeks for another time," Trump tweeted. "The Prime Minister was able to save a great deal of expense and effort for both the United States and Denmark by being so direct." Direct means that she called Trump's feeler "absurd."

It's not just Frederiksen who is getting stood up.Trump had been scheduled to make a state visit to Denmark on Sept. 2 on the invitation of Queen Margrethe II.

Going meh on Medicare for all

Some of the Democratic contenders who were all in on Medicare for All are now backing away from any plan that would mean the end of private health insurance, which alarmed significant numbers of voters, The Washington Post writes.

Kamala Harris said she changed her proposal even if it made appear to be "waffling" because ‘I can’t make this circle fit into a square." Her new plan would allow private insurance policies as long as they followed Medicare’s rules on quality and price. Beto O'Rourke has made as similar strategic retreat.

Five of the seven U.S. senators in the race have co-sponsored the Medicare-for-All bill drafted by Bernie Sanders, who remains locked in on his plan. But Cory Booker describes himself as a “pragmatist” who would focus on “the immediate things we would do,” which do not include eliminating private health insurance. Elizabeth Warren is saying “there are a lot of different pathways” to achieving the goal of the Sanders bill.

Someone greased the slope

Trump quotes the week of, after El Paso and Dayton massacres and from Tuesday capture his latest backsliding on stronger background checks for gun buyers.

On Aug. 9, disagreeing with the NRA, Trump said, "They think you approve one thing, and that leads to a lot of bad things. I don't agree with that. I think we can do meaningful, very meaningful background checks."

On Tuesday, he said: "A lot of the people that put me where I am are strong believers in the Second Amendment — and I am, also. And we have to be very careful about that. You know, they call it the 'slippery slope,' and all of the sudden, everything gets taken away. We’re not going to let that happen."

Trump is following his usual pattern after the shock of a particular mass shooting starts to wear off.

What else is happening: 

  • Anthony Scaramucci is hiring himself out at $100 a pop for personalized videos, such as birthday greetings for Trump-hating friends, The Washington Times reported. The former White House communications director-turned-anti-Trumper tweeted that he'll donate proceeds to charity.
  • Trump tweeted Tuesday about two obsessions he can't shake off: Scaramucci ("Nobody ever heard of this dope until he met me") and insufficient media awe over the crowd size at a New Hampshire rally last week ("Fake and Corrupt … The Enemy of the People!")
  • Julián Castro became the 10th candidate to qualify for the Democrats' third round of debates Sept. 12-13. The others are Warren, Harris, Sanders, O'Rourke, Booker, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Andrew Yang. 
  • Warren and Sanders have unveiled plans this week to overhaul the nation's criminal justice system. Both would ban private prisons and ending policies like mandatory minimum sentences, cash bail, solitary confinement, and the death penalty. 
  • It's only one poll, but the big surprise in a CNN snapshot of the Democratic race was a plunge in Harris' support from 17% to 5% since June. It also showed Biden on the upswing with 29%, a 7-point gain, while Sanders and Warren held steady at 15% and 14% respectively.
  • Trump last year declared ISIS defeated, but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday that while the caliphate *is gone," there are "places where ISIS is more powerful today than they were three or four years ago."

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