President Donald Trump reportedly suggested that Jews have a loyalty to their religion above other interests, repeating an accusation that has long been used to stoke anti-Semitism.
Jews “are only in it for themselves” and “stick together,” Trump said in front of officials in his administration, according to a new report from The Washington Post on Wednesday.
More than two dozen current and former Trump administration officials spoke with The Post about the president’s views on race and described racist remarks they said he has made while in office.
The president’s characterizations of Jews occurred after he got off the phone with Jewish lawmakers, the officials said.
Trump has made similar statements about Jewish people, including during a conference call last week with American Jews when he said “we love your country,” referring to Israel.
The idea that Jews hold a greater allegiance to their religion than their own country, otherwise known as “dual loyalty,” is widely believed to be anti-Semitic.
Many American Jews have condemned Trump’s insinuations and pointed to the history of violence and persecution that Jews have faced as evidence of what such rhetoric can lead to.
The Washington Post also reported clashes between Trump and some of his senior officials over his comments following the infamous Unite the Right rally that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017. Hundreds of neo-Nazis and white supremacists stormed the college town and were soon met by counterprotesters, leading to violence that left many injured and one person dead.
Trump later said that there were “fine people on both sides.” Gary Cohn, the White House economic adviser at the time, had an intense exchange with Trump following the statement, The Post reported.
“Not only did you say it, you continued to double down on it,” Cohn said, according to The Post. “And if you want, I’ll get the transcripts.”
John Kelly, then the White House chief of staff, also criticized Trump at the time, according to The Post.
“You have to fix this,” he said. “You were supporting white supremacists. You have to go back out and correct this.”
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