Adam Schiff believes Donald Trump will "cement" Jewish support for Democrats

Rep. Adam Schiff told CNN on Sunday that Donald Trump has helped to "cement" Jewish support for Democrats

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published April 7, 2019 11:30AM (EDT)

Donald Trump; Adam Schiff (AP/Evan Vucci/Getty/Drew Angerer/Salon)
Donald Trump; Adam Schiff (AP/Evan Vucci/Getty/Drew Angerer/Salon)

The House Intelligence Committee Chair has stated that President Donald Trump has managed to "cement" the Jewish community's historic preference for the Democratic Party.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., responded to Trump's claim that Democrats had a "radical agenda" which could "very well could leave Israel out there all by yourselves" by telling CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday that "I hate to even dignify those remarks, but look, it’s not the Democratic Party that believes that there are good people on both sides of a Nazi rally. There’s just one party and one party leader who believes that, and that’s Donald Trump," according to The Hill. The comment about "good people on both sides" refers to Trump's infamous defense of alt right protesters in Charlottesville in 2017.

Schiff added, "If there’s anything that is likely to cement the relationship between the Democratic Party and the Jewish community, it’s the presidency of Donald Trump. The lack of character and values that are certainly inconsistent with Jewish values, I think, are only consolidating support in the Jewish community and I think the president needs to look inward when it comes to the rise of anti-Semitism in the country and his own actions and his own words and how that may fuel some of the rise in hate that we see."

Republicans are already planning on making an aggressive push for the Jewish vote in 2020, according to Politico. This will include emphasizing the party's unwillingness to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., from her seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee despite having made comments that many have criticized as anti-Semitic. Despite the Republican criticisms of Omar for implying that AIPAC (America's foremost pro-Israel lobby) has too much influence over policymaking, Trump himself has played on anti-Semitic tropes, most recently by referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as "your prime minister" to a group of Jewish Republicans in Las Vegas, according to Haaretz.

While Republicans have frequently tried to peel off Jewish voters, the Jewish community has been a reliably Democratic voting block for almost a century. The last Republican candidate to win the Jewish vote was Warren Harding in 1920, and the only Democrat to receive less than 50 percent of the Jewish vote since the 1920 election was Jimmy Carter in 1980. Hillary Clinton picked up 71 percent of the Jewish vote in the 2016 election while Trump only won 24 percent, a 6-point drop from Mitt Romney's share of the Jewish vote four years earlier.

This hasn't stopped Republicans from engaging in a concerted campaign to paint Democrats as an anti-Semitic party. In a speech to AIPAC last month, Vice President Mike Pence declared that "it’s astonishing to think that the party of Harry Truman ... has been co-opted by people who promote rank anti-Semitic rhetoric. And as I stand before you, eight Democrat candidates for president are actually boycotting this very conference. So let me be clear on this point: Anyone who aspires to the highest office in the land should not be afraid to stand with the strongest supporters of Israel in America."

Schiff, who is himself Jewish, has been harshly criticized by the Trump administration in recent weeks after Attorney General Bill Barr characterized special counsel Robert Mueller's report as having exonerated the president.

"They used the taxpayer dollars and people’s anxiety, got into their lives. By the way, Adam Schiff is completely compromised. You want to find one person who is compromised? He’s the head of the House Intelligence Committee, and he spent more time on TV than at that committee over the last however many years," White House adviser Kellyanne Conway told "Fox News Sunday" last week.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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