Election 2020

Trump: 'I Don't Have a Message' for Supporters Who Sent Anti-Semitic Death Threats to Reporter

Melania Trump, the wife of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, addresses supporters of her husband’'s campaign in Spartanburg, S.C., on Feb. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Alex Sanz)

Donald Trump refused to condemn a wave of anti-Semitic threats against a journalist who profiled his wife, Melania, in GQ magazine.

Julia Ioffe, a Moscow native whose family fled anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union and immigrated to the United States when she was a child, contributes to publications such as Foreign Policy and The New Yorker. She interviewed Melania Trump for the GQ piece and traveled to Slovenia to find the model’s family, where she uncovered a half-brother Melania never met.

After publication, Melania Trump issued a statement calling the article “yet another example of the dishonest media and their disingenuous reporting.”

“Julia Ioffe, a journalist who is looking to make a name for herself, clearly had an agenda when going after my family. There are numerous inaccuracies in this article including certain statements about my family and claims on personal matters. My parents are private citizens and should not be subject to Ms. Ioffe’s unfair scrutiny,” she said.

Ioffe stood by her reporting — “there is nothing in it that is untrue” — and retweeted some of the virulent anti-Semitic reactions she was receiving from professed Trump supporters, including her image photoshopped onto a concentration camp prisoner and lampshade. “Empress Melania Trump Attacked by Filthy Russian Kike Julia Ioffe in GQ!” declared one tweeter professing to be a Trump supporters. Another photoshopped image tweet in the style of the Back to the Future movie declared she should go “Back to the Oven.”

Ioffe also received calls from blocked numbers playing Hitler speeches, cartoons of Jews being executed, a call from “Overnight Caskets,” and more. She compared the barrage to something you might previously only see in Russia.

Asked about the abuse and anti-Semitic death threats directed at Ioffe Wednesday on CNN, Donald Trump said he had not read the article, “but I hear it was a very inaccurate article and I heard it was a nasty article.”

“I’m married to a woman who’s a very fine woman. She’s a very fine woman. She doesn’t need this, believe me. She was very, very successful. She did tremendously well as a top model. She made a lot of money. And — and she’s a nice person. And I guess some of the article says that she would go in at night and she would stay, she wasn’t a party person. She, you know, that’s not her thing. But this was a very — this is a very high quality woman who loves people and has a big heart. She doesn’t need to be — have bad things said about her. And I heard the article was nasty. Now, I haven’t read it, but I heard the article was not what it should be. They shouldn’t be doing that with wives. I mean they shouldn’t be doing that,” Trump said.

Pressed on the death threats from his supporters that followed, the presumptive GOP nominee said, “I don’t know anything about that.”

“You mean fans of mine? I know nothing about it. You’ll have to talk to them about it.”

“But your message to these fans is?” host Wolf Blitzer asked.

“I don’t have a message to the fans. A woman wrote an article that was inaccurate. Now, I’m used to it. I get such bad articles. I get such — the press is so dishonest, Wolf, I can’t even tell you. It’s so dishonest. There is nothing more dishonest than the media. Uh, and I know it better than anybody. And it’s actually gotten to a point where it doesn’t even bother me anymore, it’s — it’s gotten so ridiculous,” Trump replied.