A reporter for a small ultra-Orthodox publication’s dream turned into a nightmare today when President Trump called on him during a rare solo press conference — and then slammed him.
The reporter, Jake Turx, had long wanted to participate in such a high-level event, even publicly begging spokesman Sean Spicer to call on him.
He asked Trump about the uptick in anti-Semitism in the United States — but only after carefully and at length reassuring the president that nobody in his own community, or on staff at Ami magazine, felt Trump personally was anti-Semitic.
Yet an accusation of personal anti-Semitism was all that Trump seemed to hear from Turx. He let loose with a flood of well-rehearsed lines.
“Number one, I am the least anti-Semitic person you have ever seen in your entire life,” he said.
“Number two, racism. I am the least racist person… [Turx] said he was going to ask a straightforward question,” Trump harrumphed. “Well, welcome to the land of the media. I hate the charge.”
“You heard Netanyahu, Bibi,” Trump continued, alluding to yesterday’s joint press conference with the Israeli prime minister. “He said, ‘I’ve known Donald a long time,’ and he said ‘Forget it,’” Trump concluded, referring to the change of anti-Semitism.
He told Turx to sit down, and Turx did so, taking to Twitter right away to start the process of rehabilitating himself.
President Trump clearly misunderstood my question. This is highly regretful and I’m going to seek clarification. #TrumpNewsConference— Jake Turx (@JakeTurx) February 16, 2017
Helen Chernikoff is the Forward’s News Editor. She came to the Forward from The Jewish Week, where she served as the first web director and created both a blog dedicated to disability issues and a food and wine website. Before that, she covered the housing, lodging and logistics industries for Reuters, where she could sit at her desk and watch her stories move the stock market. Helen has a Master’s of Public Administration from Columbia University and a BA in History and French from Amherst College. She is also a rabbinical school dropout. Contact her at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter at @thesimplechild.