Pesidential candidate Donald Trump defended his refusal to repudiate white supremacist groups by comparing them to Jewish charities — a claim that the Anti-Defamation League denounced as obscene.
“I don’t like to disavow groups if I don’t know who they are,” Trump said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” I mean, you could have Federation of Jewish Philanthropies in groups.”
The ADL slammed Trump’s comparison of Jewish groups to white power groups, noting that they refer to blacks as ‘mud people’ and brand Jews as ‘Satanic.’
“It is obscene to even mention a Jewish organization in the same breath as these white supremacist groups,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the ADL. “Mr. Trump needs to acknowledge that the rhetoric of these hate groups is appalling and does not belong in any political discussion.”
In the “Morning Joe” interview, Trump again sought to distance himself from white supremacist David Duke. He also alluded to a possible third party run, warning the Republican Party again that he could leave the race and bring his supporters with him.
Trump used the interview to address the controversy over his refusal on Sunday to disavow Duke while talking to CNN’s Jake Tapper. Later, he blamed his failure to do so on a “bad earpiece.”
On Thursday, he called Duke a “bad person.” “I disavowed him,” Trump said. “I disavowed the K.K.K.”
Greenblatt said it was hard to understand why Trump seemed to find it difficult to make a clear-cut denounciation of the white supremacist group.
“It is hard to fathom how we can have a candidate who can be so verbose when it comes to denigrating other candidates, yet he finds himself tongue tied when it comes to the most racist and anti-Semitic group in the history of this country,” Greenblatt said.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter at @thesimplechild.