AIPAC rebukes Trump for anti-Obama comments

The president of the pro-Israel lobbying group American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) rebuked Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpFlynn to campaign for Montana GOP Senate candidate Trump considering pardon for boxing legend after call from Sylvester Stallone Decline in EPA enforcement won't keep climate bill from coming MORE on Tuesday, scolding him for his harsh comments about President Obama.

“Last evening, something occurred which has the potential to drive us apart, to divide us,” AIPAC President Lillian Pinkus said during the final day of the organization’s annual policy conference in Washington. “We say, unequivocally, that we do not countenance ad hominem attacks, and we take great offense against those that are levied against the president of the United States of America from our stage.

“While we may have policy differences, we deeply respect the office of the United States and our president, Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaUS set to admit fewest refugees in decades: report NRATV host says Obama owes Parkland students an apology over shooting Paltry wage gains, rising deficits two key tax reform concerns MORE,” she added to resounding applause. “There are people in our AIPAC family who were deeply hurt last night, and for that we are deeply sorry.

“We are disappointed that so many people applauded a sentiment that we neither agree with or condone.”

The comments were a clear shot at Trump, the Republican presidential front-runner, who appeared on the same stage barely more than 12 hours before.

Trump’s remarks at the event were uncharacteristically staid by his standards. Unlike in previous speeches, he used a teleprompter and rarely diverged from his prepared script.

Yet Trump still threw multiple shots at Obama, apparently inspiring AIPAC’s admonition Tuesday morning.

Obama, Trump said, “may be the worst thing that ever happened to Israel.”

The current White House has treated Israel “very, very badly,” Trump added.

The comments, and the reaction to them, threatened to undercut AIPAC's position as a nonpartisan group. The organization already found itself on the other side of the White House after last year’s landmark nuclear deal with Iran, and support for comments like Trump’s could have further jeopardized its standing among Democrats in Washington.