A closed-door comment made by the president during a meeting with state attorneys general, may indicate that President Donald Trump does not think the bomb threats against Jewish community centers and schools are credible — although he did condemn them.
Trump was asked during the meeting about the wave of anti-Semitic threats to Jewish institutions and vandalism against Jewish cemeteries. His response stunned Pennsylvania’s Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who raised the issue in the meeting.
“He just said, ‘Sometimes it’s the reverse, to make people — or to make others — look bad,’ and he used the word ‘reverse’ I would say two to three times in his comments,” Shapiro told Buzzfeed. “He did correctly say at the top that it was reprehensible.”
Trump promised to address the issue of anti-Semitism in his speech to Congress Tuesday night, but did not offer any explanation to his hint that Jews, or critics of his administration, could be behind the attacks in order to make someone “look bad.”
“I really don’t know what he means, or why he said that,” Shapiro said. “It didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.”
Where did Trump come up with the idea that his rivals could be behind the JCC bomb threats?
One clue could be found in the twitter feed of his former adviser Anthony Scaramucci. “It’s not yet clear who the #JCC offenders are. Don’t forget @TheDemocrats effort to incite violence at Trump rallies,” Scaramucci tweeted.
Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, said he was “astonished” by what Trump reportedly said. “It is incumbent upon the White House to immediately clarify these remarks.” He also called on Trump to lay out the administration’s plans to address anti-Semitic incidents.
Contact Nathan Guttman at firstname.lastname@example.org
Nathan Guttman, staff writer, was the Forward’s Washington bureau chief. He joined the staff in 2006 after serving for five years as Washington correspondent for the Israeli dailies Haaretz and The Jerusalem Post. In Israel, he was the features editor for Ha’aretz and chief editor of Channel 1 TV evening news. He was born in Canada and grew up in Israel. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Trump Suggests Wave Of Threats To JCCs Could Be Fake — Or Aimed To Embarrass Him