If there’s one thing President Donald Trump made clear when he asked Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) to resign Tuesday, it’s that he has a very short memory. Trump was responding to comments she made that slammed AIPAC, a pro-Israel lobbying group.
“I think she should be ashamed of herself,” he told reporters on Air Force One, adding that she should resign either “Congress or she should certainly resign from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.”
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But a few ugly truths that he’d apparently forgotten about bombarded their way to the surface, Mediaite notes.
The first of which is a 2015 clip of then-presidential candidate Trump telling a Jewish group “I’m a negotiator like you folks.” He followed up that gem with the following:
“You’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money. You want to control your own politicians.”
In light of Trump calling on Omar to resign, a notable contrast highlighted by WaPo: At a Republican Jewish Coalition event in 2015, Trump said, “You’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money … You want to control your own politicians." https://t.co/8OYdoXl5QJ pic.twitter.com/JNV5GWqCGx
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 12, 2019
In the clip, Trump gave former President Barack Obama a backhanded slap.
“And by the way, did you ever see a negotiation take so long?” he said, referring to Obama’s Iran nuclear deal.
And who could forget this tweet, widely viewed as anti-Semitic because it showed Hillary Clinton’s face superimposed over piles of money next to a six-pointed star that could be interpreted as a Star of David. The tweet, which he later deleted, made it’s way to a white supremacist website.
And really, this makes Omar’s comments seem pretty tame by comparison.
Omar raised hackles over the weekend when she issued tweets that critics claimed had anti-Semitic overtones, The New York Daily News reports.
Initially, she posted “it’s all about the Benjamins, baby,” in response to an article that reported Republicans were threatening repercussions because she supports the “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement,” which calls for economic pressure on Israel over its occupation of Palestinian territories.
It's all about the Benjamins baby 🎶 https://t.co/KatcXJnZLV
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) February 10, 2019
Then one Twitter user asked her who she thought was paying politicians to support Israel. Her response? AIPAC.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) February 11, 2019
But let’s look at the facts here: Omar has apologized for her remarks, but she’s really not wrong in the first place. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has been shoveling money into U.S. politics over the past two decades and has received plenty of scrutiny along the way, Quartz reports. And according to the Center for Responsive Politics, the pro-Israel political lobby is one of the most “active and well-financed” group that deals with international issues in the U.S., noting that:
“It’s a highly fractious issue with high-stakes and it plays a big role in domestic politics.”
As the chart below notes, AIPAC’s spending has really jumped since 1999.
A number of high-profile Democrats, like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have also taken Omar to task for her comments, saying that the tweets perpetuate a long-held anti-Semitic myth that Jews are using wealth to influence politics, The Washington Post reports.
Yes, Omar should be taken to the woodshed a little bit. But Trump’s comments present a stereotype of Jewish people that is harsh and unfair and his tweet targeting Hillary Clinton is nastier than any of the comments Omar made.
Omar, 37, was born in Somalia, and she’s a practicing Muslim. She’s also the first person to wear a hijab in the House chamber, and one has to wonder if Trump’s hysterics might be fueled by this. With all his anti-immigrant rhetoric, who knows?
A CNN panel discusses Trump’s comments in the video below.
Featured image by CNN via YouTube video