February 19, 2017
“Meet the Press” host and NBC News political director Chuck Todd criticized President Trump’s response to questions about anti-Semitism at his press conference on Thursday.
Todd challenged the president’s answer to a question about a rise in anti-Semitic threats, asking if Trump did not want to outright denounce anti-Semitism because “some of the president’s supporters aren’t as welcoming as he is.”
At the news conference on Thursday, Jake Turx, a reporter with Ami Magazine, asked: “What we are concerned about, and what we haven’t really heard being addressed, is an uptick in anti-Semitism and how the government is planning to take care of it.”
Turx noted that he did not believe the president or his staff were anti-Semitic.
“So here’s the story folks. No. 1, I am the least anti-Semitic person that you’ve ever seen in your entire life. No. 2, racism. The least racist person,” Trump responded, denouncing the question. “In fact, we did very well relative to other people running as a Republican.”
Trump told Turz to “sit down,” denouncing the question as neither simple nor fair.
“The question of course was not about the president,” Todd said. “I’m willing to say right up front that in many ways the United States has been a promise land for Jews. As a general rule, anti-Semitism has not been a problem here. I had not experienced in 43 of my 44 years.
“So why can’t president Trump simply denounce anti-Semitism?”
“He declares that he is the least anti-Semitic person you’ve ever seen in your entire life — fine. … Your actions do speak for itself,” he continued.
“Could it be because some of the president’s supporters aren’t as welcoming as he is, and the president doesn’t want to insult and criticize them? That’s what some people are hearing. Could it be that the president needs and welcomes their support of this ‘alt-right’ and some of the less enlightened people that reside there when it comes to what they think of people of the Jewish faith.”
Todd urged the president to repudiate anti-Semitic acts, even if that meant angering any supporters.
“Make it clear that not only are you not anti-Semitic, but that you reject people who are, even if they voted for you,” he said.