President Trump put in another plug Friday for a group that seeks to lure Jews from the Democratic Party, writing that “Republicans are waiting with open arms” in a tweet sent shortly after he used Twitter to condemn deadly attacks on New Zealand mosques.
In his tweet seeking to boost the “‘Jexodus’ movement,” Trump cited his decisions to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, a move that was applauded by the Israeli government.
“The ‘Jexodus’ movement encourages Jewish people to leave the Democrat Party,” Trump wrote. “Total disrespect! Republicans are waiting with open arms. Remember Jerusalem (U.S. Embassy) and the horrible Iran Nuclear Deal!”
In a tweet earlier this week, Trump quoted Elizabeth Pipko, a former campaign staff member of his who now serves as a “Jexodus” spokeswoman, after she asserted on Fox News’s “Fox & Friends” that Jewish people were leaving the Democratic Party because of supposed anti-Semitism and “anti-Israel policies.”
The Fox segment came amid the controversy over remarks made by freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) this month that some found anti-Semitic.
The timing of Trump’s latest tweet was panned by many pundits on Twitter, who noted that it came in the wake of attacks that left 49 people dead and more than 20 seriously injured when a gunman clad in military-style gear opened fire during prayers at a mosque in the center of Christchurch, New Zealand.
“Trump is now stoking religious division immediately after tweeting out a post-#ChristchurchMosqueAttack condolence message. Add it to the pile,” wrote Kevin Baron, executive editor of Defense One, a publication devoted to national security.
In a similar vein, Yashar Ali of New York magazine declared on Twitter that it was “not the morning for this.”
In a later tweet responding to Trump, the Jewish Democratic Council of America called “Jexodus” a “Republican fantasy that will fail.”
“Your policies and words are an assault on Jewish values,” the tweet said. “You have emboldened anti-Semitism and hatred in this country, and Jews have left the @GOP since 2016 because of YOU.”
Polling data and experts interviewed by The Washington Post do not show a Jewish exodus from the Democratic Party in the Trump years.
Instead, they show a demographic group that continues to vote at exceedingly high rates for Democrats — as it has for decades. That number actually ticked up when Trump was elected, with 71 percent voting for Hillary Clinton and only 24 percent voting for him in 2016.
In his earlier tweet Friday morning on the mosque attacks in New Zealand, Trump offered his “warmest sympathy and best wishes” to the people of New Zealand following what he characterized as a “horrible massacre.”
“God bless all!” Trump wrote.
Less than 45 minutes later, Trump also tweeted about the anticipated report of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who is investigating possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign in the 2016 presidential election.
Eli Rosenberg and Elliot Smilowitz contributed to this report.