Jewish Groups Find Trump's Answers to 3 Anti-Semitism Questions 'Worrisome,' 'Mind-Boggling'
WASHINGTON -- Jewish groups called "worrisome," "puzzling" and "mind-boggling" President Trump's answers in two days' worth of press conferences about rising anti-Semitic incidents in the United States.
During Wednesday's press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, an Israeli reporter asked Trump how he planned to address the hike in anti-Semitic incidents, and what he'd say to people around the world "who believe and feel that your administration is playing with xenophobia and maybe racist tones."
After touting his electoral college victory, Trump replied, "I will say that we are going to have peace in this country."
"We are going to stop crime in this country. We are going to do everything within our power to stop long simmering racism and every other thing that's going on. There's a lot of bad things that have been taking place over a long period of time," he said.
At his marathon press conference in the East Room on Thursday, an event added to the president's schedule at the last minute, Trump said he wanted to call on a "friendly" reporter and picked Jake Turx, a reporter for Ami, an orthodox Jewish magazine published in New York and Israel.
“I haven’t seen anyone in my community accuse you or anyone on your staff of being anti-Semitic. We understand that you have Jewish grandchildren, you are their zayde,” Turx said. “What we haven’t really heard being addressed is an uptick in anti-Semitism and how the government is planning to take care of it."
That included, the reporter noted, bomb threats phoned into 48 Jewish community centers across 27 states in January.
"He said he was gonna ask a very simple, easy question," Trump interjected. "And it's not, its not, not -- not a simple question, not a fair question. OK, sit down, I understand the rest of your question."
"So here's the story, folks. Number one, I am the least anti-Semitic person that you've ever seen in your entire life. Number two, racism, the least racist person. In fact, we did very well relative to other people running as a Republican -- quiet, quiet, quiet," he hushed reporters. "See, he lied about -- he was gonna get up and ask a very straight, simple question, so you know, welcome to the world of the media. But let me just tell you something, that I hate the charge, I find it repulsive."
"I hate even the question because people that know me and you heard the prime minister, you heard Ben Netanyahu yesterday, did you hear him, Bibi? He said, I've known Donald Trump for a long time and then he said, forget it. So you should take that instead of having to get up and ask a very insulting question like that."