President Donald Trump criticized Democrats on Tuesday after Rep. Ilhan Omar suggested that the United States should cut aid to Israel after officials blocked her and Rep. Rashida Tlaib from visiting the country.
Trump indicated that the suggestion was ridiculous.
“Five years ago, the concept of even talking about this … cutting off aid to Israel because of two people that hate Israel and hate Jewish people — I can’t believe we’re even having this conversation,” he said.
He condemned Democrats for defending Tlaib and Omar and their comments against Israel and the Jewish people.
“I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty,” he said.
Trump was referring to “disloyalty” to fellow Jews, not to America — a claim that is distinct from the antisemitic “dual loyalty” charge that Omar and Tlaib have both used to describe Americans who support Israel. His comments echo frustration from some politically conservative Jews, who complain that liberal Jews continue to vote for Democrats despite the party’s anti-Israel drift and increasing tolerance for antisemitism.
Trump said that both Omar and Tlaib were planning on a “propaganda tour” against Israel if they were allowed into the country.
He defended Israel’s decision to block Omar and Tlaib from entering the country.
“I don’t blame them for doing what they did,” he said. “I think it would’ve been very bad to let them in.”
Israel granted Tlaib entrance into the country for the purpose of visiting her grandmother in Palestine, but she refused, citing their restrictions on her visit.
In a press conference on Monday, Tlaib choked back tears, speaking about why her grandmother supported her decision not to visit in protest of Israel.
“She said I’m her dream manifested,” she said. “I’m her free bird so why would I come back and be caged and bow down?”
But Trump dismissed her performance, saying that the congresswoman was grandstanding.
“I don’t buy it,” he said. “I don’t buy it for a second because I’ve seen her in a very vicious mood at campaign rallies before she was a congresswoman.”