GOP Leaders Suddenly Silent On Anti-Semitism as Trump Bashes Jews For Two Days Straight
August 22nd 2019
By Oliver Willis
As Trump continued to attack American Jews for overwhelmingly supporting the Democratic Party, key Republican leaders who are often quick to call out what they consider anti-Semitism have remained silent.
On Tuesday, Trump said American Jews were exhibiting “either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty” by voting for Democrats. On Wednesday, he not only repeated that smear but also insisted that “only weak people” could take issue with his characterization.
After Tuesday’s rhetorical assault, Trump was criticized by groups like the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee, and the Jewish Democratic Council of America. They noted that questioning the loyalty of Jews — the “dual loyalty” trope — is blatantly anti-Semitic and has been directed against Jews for generations.
But Republican leaders, many of whom have called on Democratic leaders to condemn what they characterize as anti-Semitic, have remained silent.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not speak up about Trump. Yet in his speech to AIPAC in March, McConnell warned about dual loyalty attacks, describing them as “anti-Semitic slurs” and condemning anyone who uses them.
“For many years, such slurs and tropes were limited to the fringes,” McConnell said at the time. “Sadly, they have recently received new prominence, having been repeated and retweeted by a sitting member of Congress.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy recently visited Israel and his social media accounts are filled with pictures of his trip. But he has also said nothing about Trump’s comments.
In February, though, he had plenty to say about anti-Semitism.
“Anti-Semitic tropes have no place in the halls of Congress,” McCarthy tweeted. “It is dangerous for Democrat leadership to stay silent on this reckless language.” He also released a statement, declaring that “Republicans will take action this week to ensure the House speaks out against anti-Semitic hatred. We stand with Israel and the Jewish people.”
In fact, Democratic leaders, particularly Speaker Nancy Pelosi, condemned the language in question at the time. Democrats later put forth a congressional resolution condemning anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and other forms of bigotry — only to have 23 Republicans oppose the measure.
McCarthy’s second in command, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, has also been silent on Trump’s anti-Jewish remarks. In May, Scalise warned of “the alarming rise in anti-Semitism across the country and from some Democrats in Congress.”
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), chair of the House Republican Conference, alleged in May that there are “so many anti-Semitic members of the House Democratic Caucus.”
During an appearance on Fox News, she insisted that members of Congress have an “obligation” to condemn anti-Semitism.
“We have a situation today where those of us who are elected officials and particularly elected officials in the House of Representative where this anti-Semitism is rising within our body have an obligation to stand up and to stop it,” she said.
She accused “House Democratic leadership of “enabl[ing] anti-Semitism in their ranks.” She has repeatedly invoked the Holocaust to try to shame Democrats she accuses of being anti-Semitic. (She is not Jewish.)
Since Trump’s actual anti-Jewish attacks, however, Cheney has gone silent.
Other Republicans in Congress have fiercely condemned anti-Semitism when they make false claims against Democrats.
“There is a danger to any civilization, any country, who will not call out anti-Semitic comments when they happen,” noted Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX).
“It saddens me that a Member of Congress with the platform to change the world doesn’t take the opportunity to raise our gaze above hateful anti-Semitic language,” said Rep. Doug Collins in February.
“Time for Dem leaders to denounce anti-Semitic attacks vs. Israel. Can no longer be silent against bigotry,” said Rep. Peter King (R-NY).
“Anti-Semitic suggestions about why Israel has strong bipartisan support in Congress is shameful,” said Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA).
“I’m disappointed to find that many in the media are just awakening to the anti-American and anti-Semitic comments uttered consistently by some socialist leaders,” complained Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA).
In June, Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) stated, “Anti-Semitic beliefs have no place in this Congress & no place in our society.”
Now, as Trump accuses Jews of being disloyal, ignorant, and weak — and as Jewish leaders and citizens condemn for it — those same Republicans who claim to so deeply care about fighting anti-Semitism are remarkably silent.
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