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Trump’s long history of trafficking in antisemitic tropes

President Donald Trump waves as he leaves the stage after speaking at the Republican Jewish Coalition's annual leadership meeting in April 2019. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)
6 min

Donald Trump was apparently envious of the attention Kanye West got for his recent antisemitic comments, judging by his own social media posts over the weekend which on Monday drew criticism from the White House.

On Truth Social, the former president attacked American Jews for being insufficiently supportive of him. “Wonderful Evangelicals are far more appreciative of [Trump’s record on Israel] than the people of the Jewish faith, especially those living in the U.S.,” Trump said.

Trump wagered that he was so popular in Israel that he could be elected prime minister, and added: “U.S. Jews have to get their act together and appreciate what they have in Israel — Before it is too late!”

While less direct than West’s recent statements, Trump’s comments lean on the familiar antisemitic trope that American Jews have a dual loyalty to Israel.

But while this stereotype is a favorite of Trump’s — and one he has deployed increasingly since leaving office — it’s hardly the only one he has offered during his political career.

Here’s a rundown of the various tropes Trump has trafficked in.

‘Your country,’ ‘your prime minister’ and ‘your ambassador’

Trump has regularly spoken about American Jews as if Israel is their country, rather than the United States.

At a White House Hanukkah party in 2018, Trump said Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence go to Israel “and they love your country. They love your country. And they love this country” — the implication being that “this country” is distinct from “your country.”

Over the years, President Trump’s rhetoric about Jewish Americans has resembled the Jewish American rhetoric he has decried from other politicians. (Video: JM Rieger/The Washington Post, Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

In a September 2020 call after Rosh Hashanah, Trump told American Jewish leaders, “We really appreciate you; we love your country also.”

In 2019, he referred to Benjamin Netanyahu as “your prime minister” at a Republican Jewish Coalition event.

Trump also regularly referred to his ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, as “your ambassador” while in the company of American Jews. While that could perhaps be understood as him referring to Americans’ ambassador rather than Jews’, Friedman is the only ambassador Trump has used this construction for, according to’s compilation of Trump’s public comments.

Dual loyalty

Relatedly, Trump has cast American Jews as insufficiently appreciative of his record on Israel, often stating or implying — as he did Sunday — that his lack of support among them is inexplicable.

“We have people that are Jewish people that are great people — they don’t love Israel enough,” he said in 2019.

He added the same year, “Any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.” When that blew up, Trump doubled down.

“Jewish people who live in the United States don’t love Israel enough,” he said in an interview last summer, adding: “I believe we got 25 percent of the Jewish vote, and it doesn’t make sense. It just seems strange to me. But I did very well in Florida. I did great in Florida.”

In another interview in December 2021, Trump offered the same comparison between American Jews and evangelicals that he did Sunday. He told an Israeli journalist that “the Jewish people in the United States either don’t like Israel or don’t care about Israel.” He added: “People in this country that are Jewish no longer love Israel.”

Jews as powerful/controlling things with money

The most popular antisemitic trope in politics is that Jews control things behind the scenes — often by virtue of their money and cunning. And Trump has also leaned into this.

During another RJC event in 2015 — at a time when some in the party weren’t behind his candidacy — he repeatedly told those assembled that he didn’t want their money. He did so no fewer than five times.

“Again, I don’t want your money, therefore you’re probably not going to support me, because stupidly you want to give money,” he said.

Later in the campaign, Trump tweeted an image of Hillary Clinton surrounded by money with the words “Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!” inside a six-pointed star, the shape of the Star of David. Trump also ran an ad featuring several prominent Jews — George Soros, Janet L. Yellen and Lloyd Blankfein — while warning of “global special interests.”

And in the December 2021 interview, Trump offered perhaps his most suggestive comments on this front.

“It used to be that Israel had absolute power over Congress, and today I think it’s the exact opposite,” he said.

Jews as ‘brutal,’ ‘negotiators’

Trump has often spoken about Jewish people in extremely broad strokes, pitching them as people who stick to their own — or at least, should — and who are successful because of their business acumen.

During his 2015 speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition, he suggested that those assembled were “negotiators” without parallel.

“Look, I’m a negotiator like you, folks; we’re negotiators,” he said, adding: “This room negotiates perhaps more than any room I’ve spoken to — maybe more.”

During a 2019 speech to the Israeli American Council, Trump told those assembled: “A lot of you are in the real estate business because I know you very well. You’re brutal killers. Not nice people at all. But you have to vote for me; you have no choice.”

He summarized his point by saying these people would have to support him out of financial self-interest.

“Even if you don’t like me — some of you don’t, some of you I don’t like at all, actually — and you’re going to be my biggest supporters because you’ll be out of business in about 15 minutes” if Democrats win the election, he said.

In 2020, The Washington Post’s Greg Miller reported that Trump has said after speaking to Jewish leaders on the phone that they “are only in it for themselves” and “stick together” in ethnic allegiance. And he’s often suggested that ethnic allegiance should extend to him, because of Jewish members of his family.

“You just like me because my daughter happens to be Jewish,” he joked to the RJC in 2015.

He added in 2019: “I saw a poll that in the last election, I got 25 percent of the Jewish vote, and I said here I have a son-in-law and a daughter who are Jewish, I have beautiful grandchildren that are Jewish, I have all of these incredible achievements. I’m amazed that it seems to be almost automatically a Democrat vote.”

This post has been updated with the latest news.