Former President Donald Trump told a crowd of Orthodox Jews on Friday that “you have to be loyal” to pro-Israel politicians like himself — not mentioning his controversial dinner last month with anti-Semitic Holocaust deniers Kanye West and Nick Fuentes.
Trump, 76, received a multiple standing ovation during a 26-minute speech at a conference of teachers and social workers organized by Torah Umesorah – National Society for Hebrew Day Schools – at his Trump National Doral Miami golf resort.
Trump spent much of his remarks rattling off a list of his pro-Israel accomplishments, including moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights, ditching the US-Iran nuclear deal and overseeing recognition Israel by four Arab states as part of the Abraham Accords negotiated by his Jewish son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner.
But Trump also complained bitterly that he didn’t get a larger share of the Jewish vote in 2020 — when his narrow defeat in a handful of swing states sealed his electoral college loss.
“The first time I got 25% of the Jewish vote [in 2016]. And the second time, with all the things I did, I got 26%,” Trump told his audience. “It doesn’t make sense that Jewish people and people who love Israel would get a Democrat.”
Trump is seeking a second non-consecutive term in the 2024 election but faces potentially stiff competition for the Republican nomination — including from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who met with Israel’s Ambassador to the US Michael Herzog on Thursday.
“I just want to give you a little advice: I think it’s very important because I see what’s happening in Congress — 10 years ago, 12 years ago, 15 years ago, Israel had a great friend in Congress. Today they have no friend in Congress,” Trump said.
“Today the Congress is almost anti-Israel, I would say, with AOC plus three, with all these people who hate Israel with a passion. And you have to treat your friends with respect. You must treat your friends with dignity. And you have to be loyal to these friends, because the friends are not there for Israel like they used to be.”
Trump continued to abruptly end his remarks as he received a thunderous standing ovation in praise of himself.
“There’s a group that’s very anti-Israel and frankly anti-the Jewish people, and you just can’t let that happen. And so if you have an ally, and I think I’m the best ally you’ve ever had —” Trump said before being interrupted by applause.
The ex-president added before exiting the stage: “Thank you everyone, thank you very much.”
Trump made no mention at all of his decision to dine with West at his Mar-a-Lago club last month, despite a spate of recent anti-Jewish remarks. West brought Fuentes with him and later claimed Trump was impressed with the 24-year-old fanatic.
Trump reportedly fumed that the rapper, who also claims to be a 2024 presidential candidate, “tried to f-k me” and insisted he didn’t know who Fuentes was before the meeting. West went on to give an increasingly insane series of interviews, including telling conspiracy theorist Alex Jones “I love Hitler.”
Trump’s own emphasis on urging Jewish Americans to show greater allegiance to him has drawn criticism from Democrats.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre in October accused Trump of being “anti-Semitic” when he wrote on social media: “No president has done more for Israel than I have. However, somewhat surprisingly, our wonderful evangelicals value this far more than people of the Jewish faith, especially those living in the United States. However, those living in Israel are a different story – Highest approval rating in the world could easily be PN! US Jews need to pull themselves together and appreciate what they have in Israel before it’s too late!”