Trump deletes tweet after complaints of anti-Semitic imagery
Donald Trump on Saturday deleted a tweet critical of Hillary Clinton after he came under fire for evoking anti-Semitic stereotypes with a graphic that included dollar bills and a six-pointed star.
Before deleting the original tweet, which also contained the words “most corrupt candidate ever,” the presumptive Republican nominee tweeted the same graphic with a tweak: a circle instead of a six-pointed star, which evokes the Jewish Star of David.
The Trump campaign did not respond to requests for comment about the decision to use a six-pointed star and whether they were concerned about the potential for the imagery to evoke anti-Semitic undertones.
But the backlash on Twitter was immediate.
“A Star of David, a pile of cash, and suggestions of corruption. Donald Trump again plays to the white supremacists,” said Erick Erickson, a leading anti-Trump conservative.
Erickson quickly added, “For all the people saying ‘It’s not a Star of David,’ why then did Trump tweet it again after replacing it with a circle?”
Katie Packer, another anti-Trump Republican, asked if Trump was “sending some kind of dog whistle.”
Liberal commentator Alan Colmes, who is Jewish, called it a “disgusting” tweet that “appeals to anti-Semites.”
Abe Foxman, the director emeritus of the Anti-Defamation League, called the tweet “insensitive” but said he was reassured by the campaign’s decision to delete the tweet within a few hours.
“They realized it was edgy and could be abused. I’m not sure the intentions were there but there was certainly a lack of sensitivity,” Foxman said.
He added that there is larger concern in the Jewish community about Trump’s reluctance to condemn anti-Semitism and bigotry by some of his supporters.
“I think it’s incumbent on someone who wants to run this country to take the time out and distance and condemn it,” Foxman said.
Trump has staked out a staunchly pro-Israel position in his campaign for president, vowing in March that “the days of treating Israel like a second-class citizen will end on day one” of his presidency. And just a day before his tweet about Clinton, Trump tweeted that he was “shocked by the heinous murder” of a 13-year-old Israeli-American Jew who was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist Thursday in her home in a West Bank settlement.
His daughter Ivanka is also an observant Jew — having converted to Judaism before her marriage to businessman Jared Kushner — and Trump has three Jewish grandchildren as a result.
And on Thursday, he immediately rebuked man at a campaign rally who said criticized “Zionist Israel.”
Trump told the man: “Israel is a very, very important ally of the United States and we are going to protect them 100% — 100%. It’s our true friend over there.”
But Trump has also been slow to disavow the support of anti-Semitic white supremacists who have expressed staunch support for his candidacy.
Trump initially refused to disavow the support of David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard who continues to promulgate Jewish conspiracy theories, when pressed repeatedly about Duke’s support in an interview by CNN’s Jake Tapper. He would later tweet “I disavow” regarding Duke’s support and blamed his refusal to initially disavow Duke’s support in multiple questions on a faulty earpiece.
And when pressed on the anti-Semitic vitriol and death threats some of his supporters unleashed online against reporter Julia Ioffe over a profile she wrote about Trump’s wife in GQ magazine, Trump said he didn’t “know anything about that.”
“I don’t have a message to the fans,” Trump said when pressed on the anti-Semitic death threats in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in May. “A woman wrote an article that’s inaccurate.”
Trump has also previously retweeted tweets from apparent neo-Nazi supporters, including one from the account “@WhiteGenocideTM,” which also tweeted numerous quotes from Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.