Trump doubles down on Jewish controversy

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMarine unit in Florida reportedly pushing to hold annual ball at Trump property Giuliani clashes with CNN's Cuomo, calls him a 'sellout' and the 'enemy' Giuliani says 'of course' he asked Ukraine to look into Biden seconds after denying it MORE doubled down Wednesday on his assertion that Democratic voters are being "disloyal" to Jewish people and Israel. 

"In my opinion, if you vote for a Democrat you’re being very disloyal to Jewish people and you're being very disloyal to Israel. And only weak people would say anything other than that," Trump told reporters as he left the White House for a speech in Kentucky.

"The Democrats have gone very far away from Israel," he added.
 
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Trump on Tuesday said Jews who vote for Democrats either "lack knowledge" or show "great disloyalty."
 
The comment came as he railed against Reps. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibOmar says she hopes Netanyahu not reelected Bill Maher, Michael Moore spar over Democrats' strategy for 2020 Young insurgents aren't rushing to Kennedy's side in Markey fight MORE (D-Mich.) and Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarHillicon Valley: Zuckerberg to meet with lawmakers | Big tech defends efforts against online extremism | Trump attends secretive Silicon Valley fundraiser | Omar urges Twitter to take action against Trump tweet Omar asks Twitter what it's doing in response to Trump spreading 'lies that put my life at risk' Trump seeks to expand electoral map with New Mexico rally MORE (D-Minn.), who have been critical of the U.S.-Israel alliance. The president questioned how the Democratic Party could defend them and their views on Israel.
 
Jewish groups and Democratic lawmakers swiftly condemned Trump's remarks as anti-Semitic for questioning the loyalty of Jewish people in the United States. Multiple exit polls after the 2016 election showed that more than 70 percent of Jewish voters voted for Democratic candidate Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGiuliani says 'of course' he asked Ukraine to look into Biden seconds after denying it Sanders hits 1 million donors Democrats will not beat Trump without moderate policy ideas MORE.
 
It wasn't clear from Trump's original remarks to whom he believed Jewish Democratic voters were being loyal. Charging Jewish people with disloyalty to the United States or having dual loyalty to Israel is an anti-Semitic trope.
 
Former New York Mayor Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiGiuliani clashes with CNN's Cuomo, calls him a 'sellout' and the 'enemy' Giuliani says 'of course' he asked Ukraine to look into Biden seconds after denying it George Conway: If Trump pushed Ukraine to investigate Biden, he 'should be impeached and removed from office' MORE, the president's personal lawyer, tweeted Wednesday that Trump was "referring to disloyalty to Israel."Earlier on Wednesday, Trump quoted a right-wing conspiracy theorist who said on a Newsmax show that Israeli Jews view the president like the "second coming of God" and that American Jews who don't support him "don't even know what they're doing."
 
The president has made support for Israel, including moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and recognizing the country's claim over the Golan Heights, a centerpiece of his foreign policy. But his rhetoric chastising Jewish people over their political leanings is likely to inflame those groups and energize his opponents.
 
"I have been responsible for a lot of great things for Israel," Trump said as he left the White House.