During a press conference at the White House, President Trump falsely claimed that his electoral college win was the biggest since Ronald Reagan. He also attempted to downplay reports of turmoil inside his administration.
USA TODAY NETWORK
.Among the most unusual moments at Thursday’s press conference was President Trump’s response to a question about whether the government plans to respond to an increase in anti-Semitic incidents.
Here is the full question from the reporter, identified by Haaretz as Jake Turx with the Jewish Orthodox Ami Magazine:
I haven’t seen anybody in my community accuse either yourself or anyone on your staff of being anti-Semitic. We have an understand that you have Jewish grandchildren — you are their zayde. However, what we are concerned about and what we haven’t being heard addressed is how the government is planning to take care of it. There are reports that 48 bomb threats have been made against Jewish centers across the country in the last couple of weeks. There are people committing anti-Semitic acts or threatening to …
Trump called the question “repulsive” and “insulting.” He also expressed frustration that the reporter “said he was going to ask a very simple, easy question, and it’s not. It’s not a simple question, not a fair question.”
The president told the reporter to sit down.
“So, here’s the story folks. Number one, I am the least anti-Semitic person that you’re ever seen in your entire life,” Trump continued. “Number two, racism. The least racist person.”
As evidence, Trump pointed to his performance among minorities during the election. “We did relatively well, relative to other people running as a Republican.”
Trump then told the reporter to be quiet when he tried to ask a follow-up question. The president repeated his accusation that the reporter “lied” when he said he was going to ask a simple question. “Welcome to the world of the media,” he said.
“But let me just tell you something,” Trump continued. “That I hate the charge. I find it repulsive.”
The president never answered how the government planned to address the rise in anti-Semitism.
Trump also evaded answering a question about the recent rise in anti-Semitism at a press conference the previous day by talking about the size of his Electoral College victory. Trump was asked what he would say to “those among the Jewish community” who “believe and feel that your administration is playing with xenophobia and maybe racist tones.”
“Well, I just want to say that we are, you know, very honored by the victory that we had,” Trump responded. “306 Electoral College votes. We were not supposed to crack 220. You know that right?”
Eventually, Trump did say, “We are going to everything within our power to stop long-simmering racism.”
Trump then referenced his son-in-law, Jared Kushner’s Jewish heritage and promised, “you’re going to see a very different United States of America over the next three, four or eight years. I think a lot of good things are happening and your’re going to see a lot of love. You’re going to see a lot of love. OK?”
Rabbi Jack Moline, president of the Interfaith Alliance condemned Trump’s refusal to answer questions about the increase in anti-Semitism.
“President Trump’s repeated avoidance of addressing the recent and substantial uptick in anti-Semitism in America can no longer be ignored,” Moline said in a statement. “Throughout his campaign, President Trump refused to acknowledge any role in fanning the flames of anti-Semitism. And now, two days in a row, when asked by reporters to address the issue, he has dodged it.
“It’s not enough to just not be an anti-Semite” he continued. “Get past being offended and take action to protect the Jewish community. And while you are at it, the Muslim community and all other minority faiths in this great nation.”
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