Today, President Trump refused to properly to address the slew of anti-Semitic attacks in America over the past few weeks, including not only nearly a hundred bomb threats called into Jewish community centers and schools but also the vandalism of Jewish graveyards.
Instead, he decided to play the victim-blaming game.
Speaking to a group of attorneys general today, when asked about the anti-Semitic attacks, Trump reportedly offered a different interpretation. “Sometimes it’s the reverse!” said the president, according to Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro via Buzzfeed:
“He just said, ‘Sometimes it’s the reverse, to make people — or to make others — look bad,’ and he used the word ‘reverse’ I would say two or three times in his comments. He did say at the top that it was reprehensible.
I really don’t know what he means, or why he said that. It didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.”
Trump’s words are heavily implying that either the Jewish community is perpetrating the attacks themselves to make “others” (meaning Trump’s white supremacist and anti-Semitic supporters) look bad – or that Trump’s white supremacist and anti-Semitic supporters are themselves victims of ethnically motivated attacks at the hands of Jews, thus justifying the attacks against Jewish centers.
In case there was any doubt, Trump’s senior advisor Anthony Scarmucci took to Twitter today to say Democrats are to blame, since they “incite violence at rallies:”
— Anthony Scaramucci (@Scaramucci) February 28, 2017
Such assertions are common themes in anti-Semitic propaganda, as is the victim-blaming in right-wing narratives as a whole. Trump himself has made victim-blaming one of his primary responses, as he did to all of his numerous sexual assault victims.
Let’s recap Trump’s past two weeks and how he’s defended the Jewish people:
Trump was asked twice to condemn the attacks. The first time, he discussed his electoral college victory instead; the second time, he shouted down a Jewish reporter and then proclaimed he was the “least anti-Semitic person ever.”
When the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect criticized him over his failure to properly address the issue, Trump sent out Sean Spicer to tell Director Goldstein that he should be “praising” Trump for his “leadership.”
Not once did Trump sincerely condemn the attacks; in fact, he’s gone out of his way to avoid doing so. In addition, he’s done nothing to clear the anti-Semites like Stephen Bannon out of his administration.
Trump’s words – and lack of words – are an open signal of encouragement to the white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and domestic terrorists who are plotting against minorities in the United States. He is openly creating an atmosphere where hatred and discrimination can flourish, and it’s obvious that he’s hell-bent on unraveling the religious and ethnic pluralism that the United States was founded on – no matter the cost.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.