Trump adds Jews to his hit parade of hatred

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President Donald Trump reiterates that he believes anyone who votes for a Democrat is being disloyal to Israel and the Jewish people, after officials tried to walk back his previous comments.

Posted: Aug 21, 2019 5:50 PM
Updated: Aug 21, 2019 5:50 PM

Seemingly devoted to making our country into the Divided States of America, the President who smeared and offended Muslims and Latinos is now doing the same for Jews. Speaking in the Oval Office, Donald Trump accused Jews who vote for Democrats of having "either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty."

With those nine evil words, he deployed a vague but potent trope about Jewish patriotism. Accusations of "disloyalty" were flung at Jews in Nazi Germany and have been used to smear Jews around the world. Trump wasn't specific about the loyalty Jewish Democrats were violating. To Israel? To Judaism? To America? To Trump? He subsequently explained to reporters Wednesday that he had meant that those who support Democrats are disloyal to "Jewish people" and to Israel. He did not explain why he should be considered a proper judge of Jewish Americans' obligations.

The uproar over Trump's remarks drew press attention away from rising evidence that the US is headed for an economic meltdown. The economy has been his main claim to presidential success. On the very day he shouted-out to anti-Semites, Trump also admitted that more tax cuts are being considered as a way to halt the slide into recession.

Confusing and outrageous statements are key to Trump's style of attention-seeking, which he refined over decades of manipulating the tabloid press in New York City. Back then he would make outrageous statements about his own wealth, plant stories about the famous women pursuing him for romance, and jump into controversies like the attack on a jogger in Central Park, which he exploited with signed advertisements calling for New York state to reinstate the death penalty.

In the jogger case, Trump wasn't so bold as to say the youngsters arrested for the crime should be executed, but the implication was obvious. (It should be noted that they were eventually exonerated of the crime.) The wording meant that Trump could exploit the dangerous anger people felt about the attack, but in an indirect way.

By the time he began his 2016 campaign for president, Trump had perfected his method of attaching escape-hatch-caveats to inflammatory words about groups of people. So it was that he said that a few "good people" were among the immigrants from Mexico whom he described as rapists and people bringing drugs.

With his "lack of knowledge" and "great disloyalty" smear, Trump again picked up his favorite playthings -- dangerous words -- and threw them around recklessly. Those who identify with neo-Nazis chanting "Jews will not replace us" during the awful white nationalist demonstrations in Charlottesville would find in Trump's comment confirmation that he is with them. He expressed a similar sentiment during the Charlottesville crisis when he noted there were "very fine people" among those who carried torches and shouted the Nazi slogan "blood and soil"

Trump's comments are of a piece with the white identity strategy he seems to be employing in his bid for reelection. With his brutal approach to immigration, references to "shithole" countries in Africa, and his consistent attacks on black and brown members of Congress -- like his recent, and repeated, public disparagement of Muslim-American Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib -- Trump plays on white anxieties about a future when they are no longer part of a racial or ethnic majority.

The big problem with Trump's callous and destructive abuse of his office is that it requires regular renewal, intensification and amplification. Renewal comes when he simply repeats an ugly claim to remind us where he stands. Intensification comes when he raises the stakes to make sure he gets the attention he wants. Amplification comes when he adds a new group -- in this case American Jews -- to his hit parade of hatred. With three techniques he keeps drawing attention to himself, and away from serious problems.

It's difficult to say where all this will lead. The only certainty is that Trump will continue along this line. Proof came less than 24 hours after his Oval Office disgrace when he retweeted a notorious conspiracy theorist's claim that Israelis regard Trump as "the second coming of God."

Jews do not believe in a concept like the "second coming," but conservative evangelicals who largely support Trump do. The statement exploits their religious and emotional attachment to Israel in the crudest possible way. Of course, Trump endorsed it.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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CountyConfirmedDeaths
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Harrison394175
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Jones252780
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Noxubee55816
Smith55115
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Tunica50015
Montgomery47020
Claiborne46516
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Lawrence43914
Perry43221
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Greene38917
Stone38013
Humphreys37715
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Amite34210
Webster33913
Carroll33112
Wilkinson30818
Kemper29115
Sharkey26714
Jefferson2439
Benton2333
Franklin1993
Choctaw1876
Issaquena1063
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 138162

Reported Deaths: 2405
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson20221352
Mobile13558295
Tuscaloosa9029118
Montgomery8894187
Madison800580
Shelby616450
Lee601761
Baldwin564052
Marshall398345
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Chilton160930
Dale141844
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Coffee13936
Pike122011
Chambers117942
Tallapoosa117385
Clarke110916
Marion97629
Butler91740
Barbour8967
Winston75112
Marengo72820
Pickens67215
Randolph67213
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Lowndes65927
Hale65328
Geneva6505
Lawrence63625
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Bullock61015
Clay5929
Monroe5928
Washington56012
Crenshaw54532
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Conecuh53811
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Greene30615
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