On Tuesday morning, Donald Trump toured the National Museum of African American History in Washington, D.C. While addressing the press after his walk-through, Trump responded to the recent wave of bomb threats on Jewish community centers throughout the United States:
“This tour was a meaningful reminder of why we have to fight bigotry, intolerance and hatred in all of its very ugly forms. The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community at community centers are horrible and are painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil.”
Trump’s reminder arrives after his former rival, Hillary Clinton, spoke out on Twitter. She urged “everyone” to speak out against recent attacks — which includes the vandalization of over 100 Jewish headstones at a Missouri cemetery — and said Trump must lead the dialogue.
The president’s condemnation follows his dismissive attitude at last week’s combative press conference, in which he instructed Jewish reporter Jake Turx (who asked how Trump planned to deal with the uptick in anti-Semitism) to “sit down.” Trump berated the reporter and called himself “the least anti-Semitic person that you’ve ever seen in your entire life.” He also recoiled as if the reporter had accused him of being anti-Semitic:
“But let me just tell you something: I hate the charge. I find it repulsive. I hate even the question because people that know me — and you heard the Prime Minister, you heard Benjamin Netanyahu, did you hear him, Bibi? He said, ‘I’ve known Donald Trump for a long time,’ and then he said, ‘Forget it.’ So you should take that instead of having to get up and ask a very insulting question like that.”
Turx had begun his question by mentioning Trump’s Jewish grandchildren (Ivanka converted to Judaism with marriage) and articulating that he didn’t believe Trump was anti-Semitic. Later, Sirius XM’s Jared Rizzi asked Trump what he would do to address his supporters who address anti-Semitic violence, with “some of it by supporters in your name.”
In response, Trump seemed to pass responsibility for anti-Semitism to “the other side.” He insisted, “Some of the signs you’ll see are not put up by the people that love or live Donald Trump. They’re put up by the other side.”