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Flood Of Criticism of Trump’s Dinner With Anti-Semities Becomes Trickle

Phil Garber
9 min readNov 29, 2022

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How sweet it is that trump, the bully, is being further roughed up and pushed out of the GOP for his latest performance with two virulent anti-Semites. Not so fast Ralph Kramden.
It seemed that trump would be roundly tarred and feathered after he dined at Mar-a-Lago over the weekend with far-right, white supremacist and anti-Semite and provocateur Nick Fuentes and Ye, the artist formerly known as Kanye West, who has made scathingly anti-Semitic comments recently.
But as it always is with matters involving trump, the flood of criticism is turning into a trickle and while some Republicans have repudiated anti-Semitism most haven’t turned directly on trump.
So, hold on before you start the party, Ralph Kramden.
Trump claimed he had no idea who Fuentes was and that Ye brought him to his Florida estate as a guest. The circus continued as trump flunkie number one, Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., tried to defend his mad king when he claimed a double standard because the press was unfairly criticizing trump while it didn’t repudiate President Barack Obama’s alleged relationship with the anti-Semite, Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam, more than 15 years ago.
“No, the meeting was bad,” said Graham in a less than blistering reaction to trump and his dinner. “He shouldn’t have done it. But again, you know, there’s a double standard about this kind of stuff. And I don’t think it’ll matter in terms of his political future, but I do believe we need to watch who we meet with. We shouldn’t give oxygen to people who think this way.”
Graham continued in speaking to reporters, “You know, when Democrats hang out with Farrakhan, y’all don’t ask these questions.”
There is nothing to back his claims about Democrats and the fiery, anti-Semitic black supremacist who was had reduced his responsibilities with the Nation of Islam in 2007.
Not to be outdone in showing his fealty to the clown king, election denying, Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., then blamed trump’s staff but not trump for allowing Fuentes to attend the dinner with trump.
“If the reports are true and the president didn’t know who [Fuentes] was, whoever let him in the room should be fired,” Tillis said.
Sen. John Thune, R-Color., was equally obsequious, even if he does like Styx, Journey, Boston, and the Doobie Brothers.
The dinner was “just a bad idea on every level. I don’t know who was advising him on his staff but I hope that whoever that person was got fired” said Thune, the minority whip who previously showed his mettle on May 28, 2021, when he voted against creating an independent commission to investigate the January 6 capitol riot by trump supporters and instigated by trump.
“Antisemites deserve no quarter among American leaders,” was the mealy mouthed response from David Friedman, former lawyer for trump and The Trump Organization, a trump advisor during the 2016 presidential campaign and the former ambassador to Israel, appointed by trump.
“To my friend Donald Trump, you are better than this. Even a social visit from an antisemite like Kanye West and human scum like Nick Fuentes is unacceptable,” he said on Twitter. “I urge you to throw those bums out, disavow them and relegate them to the dustbin of history where they belong.”
Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., also raked trump over the coals (not) when he practiced the art of understatement and said that the ex-president suffers from a lack of good judgement.
“I know that he’s issued a statement. He said he didn’t know who those people were,” said Comer, who attends the First Baptist Church of Tompkinsville and Elkhorn Baptist Church and who was accused on May 5, 2015, of physical and mental abuse by Marilyn Thomas, a woman he dated while attending Western Kentucky University in 1993. He has said he believes the accusation was a political stunt to hinder his gubernatorial campaign.
If anyone should have been fuming over trump’s dinner dates, it would be Morton Klein, head of the right-wing Zionist Organization of America. Klein didn’t fume and barely simmered as he hedged his bets in his comments.
“I am a child of survivors. I have become very frightened for my people,” said Klein, referring to his parents’ survival of the Holocaust. “Donald Trump is not an antisemite. He loves Israel. He loves Jews. But he mainstreams, he legitimizes Jew hatred and Jew haters. And this scares me.”
And there were the curious comments from Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., the GOP co-chair of a congressional group called the “Caucus for the Advancement of Torah Values.”
“I am appalled,” said the lawmaker, who is not Jewish and whose last name is coincidentally the same name of a food that is banned by the Torah.
Bacon was one of 35 House Republicans who voted to create an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 rebellion by trump supporters. Bacon also has said he is 100 percent behind Republican Herschel Walker to win a runoff for U.S. Senate. Walker has spread trump’s unsubstantiated claims that he lost the 2020 presidential election because of widespread voter fraud. Walker also has denied allegations that he pressured two former girlfriends to get abortions and was accused of threatening to kill his ex-wife.
Although he didn’t say he was “appalled” by Walker’s history, Bacon said that “Herschel needs to come clean and just be honest. We also know that we all make mistakes and it’s just better — if this actually did happen — say, ‘I’m sorry’ and ask for forgiveness.”
The barely bi-partisan “Caucus for the Advancement of Torah Values,” created on Jan. 23, is comprised of six non-Jews, including five Republicans and one conservative Democrat, who was asked by a group of Republicans to jump parties and switch to the GOP. None of the 37 Jewish members of Congress are participating in the caucus.
Bacon, the caucus co-chair, said “The purpose of this caucus is to pledge our friendship to our Jewish brothers and sisters. This is not only about friendship to Israel but to pledge that through this caucus we resolve to fight anti-Semitism from wherever it comes, both the right and the left.”
Rabbi David Hofstedter said the caucus, “promises to be a great force in ensuring the preservation of Torah values for the Jewish community and beyond. It is a bipartisan, new caucus that has pledged to advocate on behalf of Torah values in the corridors of American power and beyond.”
A letter critical of the caucus was initiated by Americans for Peace Now and signed by the Reform movement’s Religious Action Center, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, J Street and ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal, among other groups.
“And if the nature of this suggests that pursuing one set of religious values is the foundation of your legislative activity it raises significant concerns regarding the separation of church and state, which has been one of the keys to the long-term safety and security of the American Jewish community,” the letter said.
Haile Soifer, CEO of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, said the caucus was not the way to combat anti-Semitism.
“With all due respect to our non-Jewish friends, the creation of this caucus is not the way to address them, nor are our ‘Torah values’ in need of your advancement.” Soifer said.
The caucus members include Bacon; Rep. Kat Cammack, R-Fla; Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa.; Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas; Rep. Brian Steil, R-Wis.; and Rep. Dan Mueser, R-Pa.
Bacon’s is a moderate but his track record of voting belies his bi-partisanship. During trump’s presidency, Bacon voted in line with Trump’s position 89.4 percent of the time and was ranked 89th out of 435 House members in bipartisanship, according to the Lugar Center.
Cammack was endorsed by trump in her race to congress in September 2020. She also was one of the 139 representatives to vote to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election on Jan. 7, 2021. She also supported the construction of trump’s failed border wall along the Mexico–United States border.
Fitzpatrick is the most moderate of the Republicans on the caucus. In the first session of the 115th United States Congress, he was ranked the third most bipartisan member of the House by the Bipartisan Index, a metric created by The Lugar Center and Georgetown’s McCourt School of Public Policy.
Fitzpatrick joined 10 other Republican House members voting with all voting Democrats to strip Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., of her House Education and Labor Committee, and House Budget Committee assignments in response to anti-Semitic statements she had made.
Fitzpatrick has a lifetime score of 81 percent on the National Environmental Scorecard of the League of Conservation Voters and is ranked as the most environmentally friendly Republican member of the House, rating higher than many Democrats.
He was one of 35 Republicans who joined all Democrats in voting to approve legislation to establish the January 6, 2021 commission meant to investigate the storming of the Capitol.
Cuellar was ranked the fifth-most bipartisan member of the House in the first session of the 115th Congress by the Lugar Center and McCourt School of Public Policy. As a conservative, Cuellar is one of two “Blue Dog Democrats” in Texas’s congressional delegation. The other is Rep. Vicente Gonzales.
Steil was endorsed by trump in Steil’s 2018 campaign for congress. He condemned the Capitol attack but did not call for trump’s removal from office. And in May, he voted against forming the January 6 commission to investigate the attack.
Meuser joined more than120 Republican members of the House in signing an amicus brief in support of a Texas lawsuit that sought to invalidate Pennsylvania’s 2020 presidential election votes. The Supreme Court declined to hear the suit.
Meuser was firmly behind trump.
“I strongly oppose Democrat leadership’s latest effort to harass [Donald Trump]. For years, he and his supporters have been subjected to baseless attacks. Such slander is a disservice to our nation and the American people, and I am tired of it,” Meuser said.
Of the 37 Jewish lawmakers in Congress, none of whom joined the caucus, there are 10 in the Senate and 27 in the House of Representatives including 25 Democrats and two Republicans. In alphabetical order, the Jewish members of Congress include:
House members include: Jake Auchincloss, Massachusetts (freshman); Suzanne Bonamici, Oregon; David Cicilline, Rhode Island; Steve Cohen, Tennessee; Ted Deutch, Florida; Lois Frankel, Florida; Josh Gottheimer, New Jersey; Sara Jacobs, California (freshman); Andy Levin, Michigan; Mike Levin, California; Alan Lowenthal, California; Elaine Luria, Virginia; Kathy Manning, North Carolina (freshman); Jerry Nadler, New York; Dean Phillips, Minnesota; Jamie Raskin, Maryland; Jan Schakowsky, Illinois; Adam Schiff, California; Brad Schneider, Illinois; Kim Schrier, Washington; Brad Sherman, California; Elissa Slotkin, Michigan’ Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Florida; Susan Wild, Pennsylvania; and John Yarmuth, Kentucky.
Jewish Republicans in the House are David Kustoff, Tennessee and Lee Zeldin, New York.
Jewish senators are all Democrats, except for Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont. The Democrats include Michael Bennet, Colorado; Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut; Ben Cardin, Maryland; Dianne Feinstein, California; Jon Ossoff, Georgia (freshman); Jacky Rosen, Nevada; Brian Schatz, Hawaii; Charles Schumer, New York; and Ron Wyden, Oregon.
At least Republican Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson got it right with his reaction to the dinner.
“Well, I hope someday we won’t have to be responding to what former President Trump has said or done,” Hutchinson said. “And this instance, it’s important to respond. I don’t think it’s a good idea for a leader that’s setting an example for the country or the party to meet with an avowed racist or anti-Semite. And so it’s very troubling, and it shouldn’t happen. And we need to avoid those kinds of empowering extremes. When you meet with people, you empower them, and that’s what you have to avoid. You want to diminish their strength, not empower them. Stay away from it.”
Hutchinson was never a shrinking violet regarding trump.
He had demanded that Republicans who tried to overturn the 2020 presidential election and spread trump’s “Big Lie” about the election not be put in positions of leadership. He accused trump of dividing the party and said his election conspiracies were “recipe for disaster.” Hutchinson and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, condemned the Republican National Committee’s censure of Representatives Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney for their support of and participation on the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 Capitol attack by trump supporters.

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Phil Garber

Journalist for 40 years and now a creative writer