President Trump on Tuesday said that Jewish people who vote for Democrats are showing ‘‘either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty,’’ prompting an outcry from critics who said the president’s remarks were promoting anti-Semitic stereotypes.
Trump made the comment in an exchange with reporters in the Oval Office ahead of a meeting with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.
Trump began by lashing out at Democratic Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, questioning the sincerity of her tears at a news conference where she talked about her decision not to travel to Israel to see her elderly grandmother, who lives in the occupied West Bank.
‘‘Yesterday, I noticed for the first time, Tlaib with the tears,’’ Trump said. ‘‘All of the sudden, she starts with tears, tears. . . . I don’t buy it for a second, because I’ve seen her in a very vicious mood at campaign rallies, my campaign rallies, before she was a congresswoman.’’
He then went on to attack Democrats more generally over the views of Tlaib and Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. Both women have long been critics of Israel and its treatment of Palestinians. They support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, a global protest of Israel known as BDS.
‘‘Where has the Democratic Party gone?’’ Trump asked. ‘‘Where have they gone, where they’re defending these two people over the state of Israel? And I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.’’
Critics on both sides of the aisle immediately pointed out that Trump’s use of the word ‘‘disloyalty’’ had echoes of anti-Semitic tropes accusing Jews of dual allegiance.
Omar responded to the president’s remark with a two-word tweet. ‘‘Oh my,’’ she said, followed by a facepalm emoji.
Some on Tuesday also noted that the overwhelming majority of American Jews have long voted Democratic. In 2016, for instance, 71 percent of Jewish voters voted for the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, while 23 percent voted for Trump, according to exit polls.
Pompeo, GOP heavyweights meet amid Senate rumors
Secretary of State Michael Pompeo attended a private briefing over lunch on Tuesday with Republican stalwarts including Arthur Laffer, Steve Forbes, and billionaires John and Margo Catsimatidis, amid rising speculation that the top US diplomat may run for the Senate next year.
The attendees at the lunch hosted by the Committee to Unleash Prosperity were confirmed by two people familiar with the event. The luncheon, though not the names of the guests, was also on Pompeo’s public schedule for his trip to New York, where he arrived Monday evening.
The move comes amid rising speculation that Pompeo, a former House member from Kansas, may step down from President Trump’s administration to run for a Senate seat opening up following the retirement next year of Pat Roberts. Bloomberg reported this month that Republican political donors have been told to hold off contributing to that race in expectation that Pompeo will run.
Pompeo, one of Trump’s most trusted Cabinet members, has given mixed signals about his political future.
The Committee to Unleash Prosperity was founded by Laffer, Forbes, and Stephen Moore, who withdrew from consideration for a spot on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors earlier this year following criticism from Republican lawmakers.
Billboard in Baltimore calls Jared Kushner a ‘rich pest’
A billboard in Baltimore, supported by the group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, draws a comparison between the president’s son-in-law and a rat, playing off President Trump’s recent comments in which he called the Maryland city a ‘‘rat and rodent infested mess.’’
The billboard went up Monday near City Hall, the city’s central police district office, and other municipal buildings.
It shows a cartoon of Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who is an owner of rodent-infested apartment buildings in the Baltimore area.
On the billboard, Kushner is called a ‘‘rich pest’’ as he sits on a pile of money on the billboard; across from him is a cartoon rat holding a piece of cheese. The billboard calls it ‘‘poor guy just trying to survive.’’
In late July, Trump sent tweets disparaging Baltimore, calling it a ‘‘disgusting’’ place ‘‘no human’’ would want to live.
Kushner owns more than a dozen apartment buildings that were cited for more than 200 code violations in 2017. The problems included reports of maggots, mold, and mice invasions. One private investigator who looked into Kushner’s properties called the managers ‘‘slumlords.’’
Ryan moving to Maryland, not selling Wisconsin home
Former House speaker Paul Ryan is moving his family from his hometown of Janesville, Wis., to a house in a Washington, D.C., suburb less than a year after he retired from Congress saying he wanted to spend more time with his children.
Ryan spokesman Kevin Seifert said Tuesday that Ryan and his family will be ‘‘temporarily’’ renting a house in Maryland and splitting their time between there and their longtime home in Janesville. He is not selling the Janesville house, where he lived throughout his 20 years in Congress.
The move will put Ryan and his family closer to the sisters of Ryan’s wife, Janna Ryan, who live in the area.
Since leaving Congress at the end of 2018, Ryan started the nonprofit American Idea Foundation. That will still be based in Janesville.
Castro qualifies for the next Democratic debate
Julián Castro, the former housing secretary, on Tuesday became the 10th Democratic presidential candidate to qualify for the next round of debates, after a new national poll showed him earning 2 percent support.
The poll, conducted for CNN by SSRS, a research firm, was the fourth qualifying poll to show Castro having cleared that hurdle. He had already met the other qualifying standard set by the Democratic National Committee by receiving donations from more than 130,000 people.
Castro joins former vice president Joe Biden; Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey; Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind.; Senator Kamala Harris of California; Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota; former representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas; Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont; Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts; and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.
All of the candidates who qualify for the debate stage in September will also make the cut for the following round of debates, in October.
New York Times