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Speaking to Jewish Republicans on Saturday, Donald Trump claimed a Democratic victory in 2020 could be damaging for Israel. In response, the executive director of a group representing Jewish Democrats lamented the president’s “assault on decency and truth” and criticised his remarks about the impending Israeli election.
Speaking at the annual meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), Trump touted two precedent-shredding actions: moving the US embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv and the recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
“We got you something that you wanted,” Trump said, adding: “Unlike other presidents, I keep my promises.”
The RJC backed Trump in 2016. It is backed by Sheldon Adelson, a casino magnate and rightwing megadonor. On Saturday, Trump met Adelson before speaking. Adelson and his wife received a standing ovation when they entered the ballroom.
In 2016, the Adelsons gave Trump $30m. They followed that with $100m for Republicans in 2018. In November, Miriam Adelson joined Elvis, Babe Ruth and other famous Americans in being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
“I know that the Republican Jewish Coalition will help lead our party to another historic victory,” Trump said. “We need more Republicans. Let’s go, so we can win everything.”
Jewish voters are often liberal but Republicans hope to narrow the gap. Trump earned standing ovations for the embassy move and the Golan Heights recognition.
The speech came weeks after he suggested Democrats “hate” Jews, following an internal fight among Democrats over comments about Israel by Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress, that some claimed were antisemitic.
Trump mockingly thanked Omar on Saturday before adding, to laughter: “Oh, I forgot. She doesn’t like Israel, I forgot, I’m sorry. No, she doesn’t like Israel, does she? Please, I apologize.”
It emerged this week that a New York man who said he “loved” Trump has been charged with threatening to kill Omar.