President Donald Trump participated in a call about the high holidays with Jewish leaders on Wednesday, but it veered into a campaign pitch where he pleaded for more support from Jewish voters and repeated a line that has drawn criticism for being an anti-Semitic trope about American Jews’ loyalty to Israel.
“We really appreciate you, we love your country also and thank you very much,” Trump said, concluding his call.
His use of “your country” when speaking to Americans was reminiscent of previous remarks he’s made that were criticized for the suggestion that American Jews view themselves as loyal to Israel.
In August of 2019, Trump was harshly criticized for saying Jews who vote for Democrats are “disloyal.”
On Wednesday’s call, he made a direct appeal for support in the upcoming election.
“And I have to say this, whatever you can do in terms of November 3rd is going to be very important because if we don’t win, Israel is in big trouble,” Trump said to those on the call.
He lamented the lack of support he had received from Jews in 2016, saying their vote “seems to be almost automatically a Democrat vote.”
“What really amazes me, and I have to tell you because I saw a poll, that in the last election I got 25% 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,” Trump said. “But I’m amazed that it seems to be almost automatically a Democrat vote.”
The President told those on the call that he hopes they can “do better with that” in the 2020 election.
“I hope you can explain to people what’s going on. We have to get more support from the Jewish people for Israel,” he said.
Trump also called Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and senior adviser, “unbelievable for Israel. He’s really been a leader for Israel.”