Donald Trump stumbled at the Republican Jewish Coalition conference when he said he didn’t want the tribe’s money and was simpatico because, like “you folks,” he too is a good haggler.
He wasn’t the only one who made some boneheaded remarks. Ben Carson, brain surgeon, also had some notable slip-ups.
If you could get past how Carson mispronounced Hamas (he sounded the alarm about Hummus terrorists but said nothing about the secret pita underground), the candidate delved into a long-debunked theory about what appears to be a Star of David on the dollar bill.
See for yourself. It’s right there … above the eagle … on the rear side of the greenback. Thirteen stars, representing the 13 original colonies, arranged into a hexagram.
Was Carson offering up the evidence anti-Semites have been looking for that Jews control our money?
The Republican presidential candidate proceeded to recount an apparently apocryphal tale about how the secret star got there, which might also be seen as backing up the unseemly myth.
He told those gathered at the D.C. forum about Haym Salomon, a Jewish man who is said to have sold bonds to finance Gen. George Washington’s army during the fight to break free of Britain’s hold of what would become the first 13 states of the United States.
“Salomon gave all his funds to save the U.S. Army and, some say, no one knows for sure, that’s the reason there’s a Star of David on the back of the one dollar bill,” Carson told the RJC movers and shakers.
Well, social media had a field day over that claim. ABC News turned to the Numismatic Bibliomania Society’s Wayne Homren for answers.
“If you squint, you can say there’s some resemblance but that certainly was not the intention of the designers, that we’re aware,” Homren told ABC.
He added that there is no mention of Saloman in historic documents, including those detailing how they came up with what is know as the Great Seal of the United States.
“All I know is there’s nothing any of us have discovered in the documentation that would support that,” he said.
This is not the first time Carson has tossed out a hare-brained theory on the dollar bill. He has said the eye above the pyramid is there to keep an on the structures he said were built to store grain. They were actually built to bury pharaohs.
The Carson campaign hit back on all the mockery.
Carson Deputy Communications Director Ying Ma told the network: “What should be noted is that American history is chock-full of legends and lore, many true, and many more apocryphal. Dr. Carson repeated one of these common myths about the six-point star on the reverse of the dollar bill.”
“He was careful to note, however, that the story was unconfirmed, saying only that some believe this, though ‘no one knows for sure.’ We may never know why the origin of the six-point star on the bill, but it should not distract from Dr. Carson’s greater message, which is that we should always remember and honor the important role the American Jewish community has played in forging this great nation.”
All rigt then. Now maybe we can get back to The Donald’s praise of Jews as great negotiators.
Follow John A. Oswald on Twitter @nyc_oz.
John Oswald is The Forward’s deputy digital media editor.