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07/13/17 06:45 AM
07/13/17 07:52 AM
JULY 8, 2017
When something happens once, it’s a curiosity. Twice, it’s a coincidence.
Three times or more, it’s a pattern.
Donald Trump has established a pattern of offending — or at the very
least ignoring — Jews. The most recent example was just last week, when
he declined to pay his respects at a Holocaust memorial in Warsaw that
other American presidents routinely visited.
going on? The answer, in my view, isn’t quite as dark as many of his
detractors would paint it. But it’s disturbing nonetheless, and his
blunders when it comes to Jews speak volumes about his limitations as a
person and liabilities as a president.
first, the record: He’d been in office just a week when International
Holocaust Remembrance Day rolled round and his administration issued a
statement that bizarrely omitted any specific mention of Jews.
Administration officials made no apology,
saying that millions of people who weren’t Jewish died in the Holocaust
and that by not singling out any one group of victims, the White House
had taken a more “inclusive” approach.
there was an initial, strange silence from Trump and his aides about a
rash of anti-Semitic vandalism and bomb threats around the country in
January and February.
May, in Israel, Trump insisted on a much shorter stop at Yad Vashem, an
important Holocaust memorial and museum, than either Barack Obama or
George W. Bush had made, and he stuck to that plan even as many Israelis
and American Jews cried foul. The tone-deaf breeziness of his approach
was accentuated by the message he left in the visitors’ book: “It is a
great honor to be here with all of my friends — so amazing & will
never forget!” As Yair Rosenberg of the Jewish magazine Tablet tweeted, it was “basically just what teenagers write in each other’s high school yearbooks.”
Trump went to the Warsaw memorial in her father’s stead, though Trump
softened that blow somewhat by mentioning, in his big Warsaw speech,
that “the Nazis systematically murdered millions of Poland’s Jewish
converted to Judaism to marry Jared Kushner, and the couple’s key roles
in the White House mean that Trump has observant Jews at the very core
of his presidency — and of his life.
But that didn’t stop him from making remarks
to Jewish Republican donors in December 2015 that seemed to play into
an anti-Semitic stereotype. “I’m a negotiator — like you folks,” he
said, later adding: “Is there anybody that doesn’t renegotiate deals in
this room? Perhaps more than any room I’ve ever spoken to.”
his presidential campaign, he embraced the favor of groups and people
who trafficked in white supremacy. He re-tweeted material from proudly
anti-Semitic Twitter feeds, and prompted a furor by promoting an image
that placed Hillary Clinton’s face atop a pile of cash and beside a
six-pointed star on which “most corrupt candidate ever” was written.
The website PolitiFact concluded
that it was “unlikely that the Trump campaign intended to put out a
Star of David image. In fact, the campaign moved to replace the star
with a circle when the image gained attention.” Even so, PolitiFact
noted, Trump had an unusual habit of “using social media to broadcast
material that comes from sources with a history of spreading racism,
anti-Semitism or white supremacy.”
not convinced that Trump is much of an anti-Semite, any more than I’m
convinced that he’s much of a homophobe. (Racism and sexism are another
matter.) But I think he’s so thirsty for, and intoxicated by, whatever
love comes his way that he’s loath to rebuff the sources of it.
prominent Jewish Republican put it well. “I think Trump is such a
pathological narcissist that the act of telling people who love you that
you reject them — he can’t get around that,” he told me, interpreting
Trump’s reasoning this way: “What can be wrong with them? They’re for me!”
is disinclined to denounce any constituency or tactics that elevate him
to the throne, where he’s sure that he belongs. The outcome validates
even the ugliest and most divisive ascent.
don’t think he’s goading these people or associating with them because
he shares their views,” the Republican added. “I do think that he’s so
insensitive about the presidency — about the responsibilities of the
leader of the free world — that he doesn’t realize it’s not enough to
say, once or twice, ‘I don’t agree with them.’ He doesn’t realize that
you have to be very clear.” And he doesn’t realize — or care — that he’s
validating and encouraging them.
doesn’t understand the message of zipping through Yad Vashem when
predecessors lingered, because he’s less concerned with the weight of
his office than with the whims and convenience of Donald Trump. It’s all
about him, always — and if he’s sure in his own heart that he’s good
with Jews, then he shouldn’t have to prove it.
Go back to his mini-tantrum during a White House news conference
in February, when a reporter for a Jewish magazine tried to ask him
whether he was paying proper heed to the anti-Semitic bomb threats.
Trump interpreted the question as an indictment not of his behavior but
of his being — “I am the least anti-Semitic person that you’ve ever seen
in your entire life!” he trumpeted — and turned the discussion toward
the big, bad media. Forget about any persecution of Jews. Let’s talk
about the persecution of Trump.
can be only so considerate to others when you never stop considering
yourself. And the flamboyantly nonconformist culture of Trump’s
presidency has downsides. This administration shrugs off and throws away
some rituals and niceties that do matter to people, estranging them in
Pride Month came and went without even a banal word of recognition from
the White House. So while Trump likes to crow, in a hallucinatory
fashion, that gays love him, we made do in June with a tweet from his
outsourced conscience, by which of course I mean Ivanka.
of this is Steve Bannon and his ilk. Their idea of nationalism is
chilly to the recognition of subgroups, including Jewish Americans.
of it boils down to an absent professionalism. Trump isn’t matching the
respectful choreography of other presidents because there’s no one in
his inner circle familiar with the dance. Kushner, Bannon, Stephen
Miller and Reince Priebus are all new to this kind and level of work.
They lack institutional memory, along with any awareness of how easily
those blind spots become insensitivity.
can’t know definitively how Trump feels about Jews or gays or a whole
lot else. But I can see clearly his sloppiness and self-absorption, and
they’re cause enough for alarm.
07/13/17 07:57 AM
07/13/17 08:02 AM
07/13/17 08:09 AM
victalac wrote:If Trump asked me to kill someone, I would do it gladly.
07/13/17 08:42 AM
07/13/17 08:45 AM
Jeffs gay lover wrote:Why does Trump keep coming back to Europe? He's gross and he's a disgusting mess, try to keep him contained to your own continent please
07/13/17 08:54 AM
French Toast wrote:All Roads Now Lead to Kushnerhttps://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/13/opinion/kushner-donald-trump-jr-emails.html?partner=rss&emc=rss
07/13/17 09:19 AM
07/13/17 09:33 AM
07/13/17 09:34 AM
07/13/17 09:52 AM
BobbyBrown11 wrote:Uh go fuck yourself, but especially that turtle turd Mitch McConnell. "That dipshit" Merrick Garland was respected on both sides of the aisles.
But because you and Turtle are partisan hacks I expect nothing less but partisan hackery.
And I swear to yahweh if DeBrun chimes in with the Biden Rule I will Liz Lemon eyeroll so hard.
07/13/17 09:58 AM
07/13/17 10:05 AM
While Republican members of Congress may squirm or wring their hands
at the latest news and take to Twitter to air their grievances about the
president, there is not yet a political incentive to file for
separation in this marriage—even if it is an arranged one.
Over the course of a chaotic six months of this presidency, Trump's
approval rating among Republicans has remained consistently strong at
around 85 to 90 percent. While his support nationally hovers around 40 percent and
some polls show him losing ground among independents, Republicans
across the country still back him and, therefore, their representatives
in Congress continue to do so as well. Severing themselves from Trump
would be to alienate his supporters who significantly overlap with the
Republican Party base.
Further, there is a sentiment among the party base that the president is a sympathetic character.
"Republicans see him as victimized to a degree and want him to succeed," said Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole,
a House leadership ally, even as he acknowledged "there’s so much other
news coming out of the White House, it does take the focus off [agenda
items], and that hurts."
"This has taken so many twists and turns, but whatever it is, we
haven’t reached it yet," Cole said when asked whether there would be a
breaking point for congressional Republicans.
Scott Jennings, a Kentucky-based Republican strategist and veteran of
the Bush administration, said there is a "tribalism of trust" in
politics, particularly among supporters of the president.
"The Russia story is largely playing out as a result of the
investigatory work of a few media outlets that Republicans just don’t
trust," Jennings said. "The vast majority of Republicans at best view
that with a skeptical eye."
These various dynamics help explain why most Republican lawmakers
ducked reporters or shrugged when faced with news this week that the
president's older son, Donald Trump Jr., met with a Russian attorney he
hoped would provide incriminating information about Hillary Clinton
during the campaign—a development that not only fueled allegations of
collusion but also flew in the face of statements by the president and
White House officials denying any such meetings.
The president's son has also become a fan favorite among the base of
Trump supporters, having carved out a role as an attack dog against the
media. Various figures in Trump's orbit, including media personalities,
have risen to Donald Jr.'s defense.
"We have three investigative bodies looking into all of this, and if
they think it’s important, they will bring him in," said Georgia Sen. David Perdue.
"Mike Huckabee made a great point this morning when he said to compare
this to Hillary’s thousands of pages of emails we didn’t get access to,
and here’s a kid that is voluntarily putting it out there."
"We’re not distracted by it," Perdue said when asked whether the controversy interrupted the GOP agenda.
Ted Cruz, who once called Trump a "sniveling coward" during the GOP
presidential primary, deflected questions about the Russia controversy
involving the Trumps.
"It's just worth keeping in mind the absolute disconnect between the
obsession of the Washington media and where the American people are," he
told reporters. "We have had eight years of Barack Obama showing
nothing but an appeasement of Russia."
But Republicans have done little, except rhetorically, to truly defy the
president. Most senators have voted with the president at least 90
percent of the time, according to analysis
of voting records by the site FiveThirtyEight.com. Only Sens. Rand Paul
and Susan Collins haven't matched that number, but still register
around 86 percent. Senators including Lindsey Graham and Ben Sasse have
become top critics of the president and administration, but have voted
in support of him 94 to 96 percent of the time.
"Having said that, when moms and dads lie down at night in Louisiana and
can’t sleep because they’re worried, they’re not worried about the
Russia investigation," he said. "They figure the FBI is going to take
care of that. They are worried about their health care and their job and
how they’re going to afford their kids' education and how they’re going
to live after they retire."
07/13/17 10:14 AM
07/13/17 10:20 AM
07/13/17 10:55 AM
Chasing imaginary voter impersonation,
disenfranchising millions of eligible voters in the process, is not just
an obsession of Trump’s. Republican lawyers are circulating the country
urging state and local officials to purge voter rolls. Conservative
lawyers are targeting districts with large numbers of racial minorities
and few resources for legal defense. Republican state legislatures have
also recently passed measures like requiring voters to present
government-issued photo IDs and restrictions on early voting.
are doing everything they can to keep Democratic-leaning constituencies
- people of color, the poor and young people - from voting. The party
claims to have suddenly developed a peculiar fixation with election
security, but it's plainly about constricting the electorate to protect
Republicans from feeling voters' wrath over their unpopular policies.
These efforts are not always well-disguised. A federal judge observed that a North Carolina voter suppression law, “target[s] African Americans with almost surgical precision.”
now and the next cycle of elections in 2018 and 2020, Republican state
legislatures are likely to pass more and more vote suppression measures.
While many of these laws have such a disparate impact on Americans of
color that they appear to violate the Voting Rights Act or the Equal
Protection Amendment of the Constitution, it seems unlikely that a
Department of Justice headed by Trump appointee Jeff Sessions or a
conservative-leaning Supreme Court will overrule them.
are so determined to shrink and tilt the electorate because they see it
as the only way to hold power while advancing an unpopular agenda.
07/13/17 11:03 AM
07/13/17 11:13 AM
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