Donald Trump got into a heated exchange Thursday with a Jewish reporter who asked what the president would do to combat the rising number of anti-Semitic incidents.
Toward the end of a 77-minute press conference, Trump searched the room “to find a friendly reporter,” before landing on Jake Turx of Ami Magazine, a Jewish publication.
“What we are concerned about and what we haven’t really heard you address is the uptick in anti-Semitism and how you intend to take care of it,” the reporter said, citing statistics that indicated a recent rise in anti-Semitic acts.
Turx prefaced his question by saying he hasn’t seen “anyone in my community accuse either yourself or anyone on your staff of being anti-Semitic.”
“See he said he was going to ask a very simple question and it’s not. It’s not a simple or fair question. Sit down, I understand the rest of your question.
So here’s the story folks, number one, I’m the least anti-Semitic person you’ve ever seen in your entire life. Number two, racism, the least racist person. In fact we did very well relative to other people running as a Republican.”
Turx tried to interject, but Trump shut him down, saying: “Quiet, quiet, quiet.”
Trump noted that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who visited the White House a day earlier, had vouched for his love of the Jewish people.
“See he lied that he’d get up and ask a very simple question, so you know, welcome to the world of the media. Let me tell you something, that I hate the charge, I find it repulsive, because people that know me — and you heard Prime Minister Netanyahu yesterday. Did you hear him? Bibi. ‘I’ve known Donald Trump for a long time,’ and he said, ‘Forget it.’ So you should take that before you get up and ask a very insulting question like that.”
A second reporter followed up, pointing out to Trump that the question was “not about your personality or beliefs.”
“We’re talking about a rise in anti-Semitism around the country, some of it by voters in your name,” the reporter continued.
Trump fired back that the rise in anti-Semitic attacks is coming from his political opponents.
“This has to do with racism and horrible things being put up. Some of it, written by our opponents. Do you know that? Do you understand that? You don’t think anybody would do a thing like that. Some of the signs you’ll see are not put up by the people that love or like Donald Trump, they’re put up by the other side and you think it’s like playing it straight? No. But you have some of the signs and some of that anger caused by the other side. They’ll do signs and drawing that are inappropriate. It won’t be my people. It will be people on the other side to anger people like you.”
After the press conference, Turx tweeted that Trump had “misunderstood” his question and pledged to “seek clarification.”
President Trump clearly misunderstood my question. This is highly regretful and I'm going to seek clarification. #TrumpNewsConference
— Jake Turx (@JakeTurx) February 16, 2017
— Jews Against Trump (@fight_trump) February 16, 2017