I am imagining Donald Trump’s visit to grieving Pittsburgh—the carefully scripted words of consolation and unity—during a quick break from his rabid campaigning.
And then Trump goes off-script and can’t resist blaming the media, and repeating his line that the massacre is the victims’ fault for failing to post guards at Shabbat services, and that assault weapons are not the problem.
And I wonder, given the soft anti-Semitism prevalent in America, whether Trump’s latest examples of apparent tin ear will appall everyone who is decent—or further bring out the haters in his base.
The man is a bundle of contradictions, but then so is America. He has a Jewish son-in-law who handles sensitive business and diplomatic affairs, he surrounds himself with Jewish advisers, but resorted to virulent anti-Semitic tropes in the 2016 campaign. He brings out the sort of haters who have bullied Jews for millennia.
Nothing new here. Dictators have had court Jews going back to Biblical times. They’re good at handling money, right? And of course that didn’t prevent kings from turning on Jews as soon as it was expedient.
To paraphrase Andrew Gillum’s brilliant remark about his dog-whistle racist opponent in the race for Florida governor, Ron DeSantis: I’m not saying that Trump is an anti-Semite, I’m just saying that the anti-Semites think he’s an anti-Semite.