Conservative radio talk show host Mark Levin called President Trump the nation’s “first Jewish President” during a Hanukkah party at the White House on Wednesday.
“It’s an honor to be here with the first Jewish President of the United States,” Levin said. “And if he isn’t, he should be.”
Trump smiled in response to the reference.
Trump is not Jewish, though his son-in-law Jared Kushner is Jewish. Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump converted to the Jewish faith after marrying Kushner.
There have been no Jewish presidents in U.S. history, though two prominent Democratic presidential candidates this year, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, are Jewish.
President Trump has issued a number of ardently pro-Israel policies since becoming president, and on Wednesday signed
an executive order to define Jewish people as an ethnic group rather than just a religious one in a bid the White House says will combat anti-Semitism.
He has also formally moved the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, and recently the State Department in a shift in U.S. policy said Israeli settlements in the West Bank were consistent with international law.
But the president has also been accused of contributing to a rise in anti-Semitic crime in the United States over the past several years. He was particularly criticized for an equivocal response to neo-Nazi and white supremacist group protests and marches and the demonstrators protesting against them in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017.
Levin, who is also the host of “Life, Liberty and Levin” Sunday nights on Fox News, praised the president for his staunch support for Israel and Jewish people as a whole.
“I want to thank you for everything that you have done for the Jewish people. I want to thank you for everything you’ve done for the Jewish people’s ancestral homeland. You are going to be remembered there for 1,000 years,” Levin said.
Trump joked with Levin regarding the success of his television career on Fox News, which launched in February 2018.
“You know he had a very successful radio show, who knew that face was going to work so well on television?” Trump deadpanned. “What a great guy, what a great show.”
Others attending included Kushner, Ivanka Trump, first lady Melania Trump and Vice President Pence.
“I’m truly grateful to have the Jewish faith woven so deeply into my family,” Trump said.
Ivanka Trump and Kushner serve as senior advisers to the president.