President Donald Trump on Friday declared that the Republican Party is “waiting with open arms” to welcome Jewish voters who he said are fleeing the “total disrespect” they have been shown by Democrats, whom the GOP has accused of harboring anti-Semitic sentiments.
The president touted the so-called “Jexodus” movement — which purports to be a grassroots movement aimed at getting Jewish millennials to desert the Democratic Party en masse — following segments on Fox News and the right-wing outlet One America News Network featuring the nascent organization.
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“The ‘Jexodus’ movement encourages Jewish people to leave the Democrat Party,” he wrote in a tweet. “Total disrespect! Republicans are waiting with open arms. Remember Jerusalem (U.S. Embassy) and the horrible Iran Nuclear Deal!”
Trump has lambasted Democrats as the “anti-Israel” party after a series of comments from freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) about politicians’ support for Israel were deemed by many to be laced with anti-Semitic tropes. Omar’s comments resulted last week in the House overwhelmingly passing a resolution condemning bigotry that some said didn’t go far enough in singling the Minnesota congresswoman out.
Trump has asserted that though Jewish Americans tended to be reliable Democratic voters, the party’s lurch to the left in recent years, as evidenced by its splintering over Omar’s comments, has alienated Jewish voters.
The so-called Jexodus movement that Trump has now praised twice in recent days appears to have cropped up around the same time as the annual conservative gathering CPAC, where Trump campaign adviser Jeff Ballabon tweeted that he “broke the news of the newest #Jewish movement.”
A website for Jexodus only lists a spokesperson, model and former Trump campaign staffer Elizabeth Pipko, and no other staff. A description on the website says that Jewish millennials are “tired of living in bondage to leftist politics” and accuses Democrats of taking the Jewish vote for granted.
Until recently, support for Israel was nearly unanimous within the mainstream of both political parties, but the Democratic Party’s vocal progressive base has grown increasingly supportive of Palestinian rights, causing a rift that the congressional Democrats have publicly struggled to confront.
The president, who himself has been accused of promoting anti-Semitic stereotypes and not thoroughly denouncing hate speech, has positioned himself as a champion of Israel throughout his presidency.
Trump has been an extremely close ally of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and last year followed through on an oft-repeated promise from presidents of both parties to relocate the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. He also withdrew the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal, a move that Israel had long pushed for and that Trump invoked in lobbying Jewish voters to change parties.