Trump leans on George Soros for campaign cash

Republicans have long known that antisemitism pays on the right

By Chauncey DeVega

Senior Writer

Published July 19, 2023 5:45AM (EDT)

Donald Trump and George Soros (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)
Donald Trump and George Soros (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

Donald Trump continues to wallow in antisemitism and other white supremacist filth. In the most recent example, Trump's 2024 campaign recently sent out a fundraising email that featured an image of President Joe Biden being controlled like a puppet by billionaire Democratic Party booster George Soros, a Holocaust survivor. The Chinese flag is in the background of the graphic.

Trump's fundraising email reads:

The worst-kept secret in Washington is that Crooked Joe Biden is not truly in charge.

Even Joe himself keeps letting that slip…

"Biden says he's 'not the essential man' during 2024 campaign fundraiser with Wall Street execs"

[SOURCE: Fox Business]

Did you ever think you'd hear the President of the United States – the COMMANDER in Chief – supposedly, the most powerful man in the world – say that he's not essential?

Biden has also said that he thought that by becoming president, he'd have the power to give orders. But instead, he said he's taking more orders than ever before.

Our Republic cannot and will not survive with a secret shadow president behind the curtain pulling the strings…

…Whether that's China, George Soros, unelected bureaucrats within the Deep State, or God only knows who else.

The 2024 election will decide whether America still is a country of, by, and for the PEOPLE – or whether our once Free Republic has been permanently hijacked by a cabal of nameless, faceless puppet masters secretly controlling our country in the shadows.

It is important to note that Trump's fundraising email is part of a much larger pattern of antisemitism by the global right-wing that has accelerated during the Age of Trump. On the right, there exists an obsessive focus on George Soros and the lie that he is the leader of a powerful cabal that secretly controls the world. The image used in the Trump campaign email is a near copy of the types of images used by the Nazis to dehumanize the Jewish people.

The inclusion of the Chinese flag is also part of the white supremacist antisemitic trope that Jewish people are somehow doing the work of anti-American foreign elements such as communists and socialists to infiltrate and undermine American society through their influence over Hollywood, the media, and banking.

"There is no fascism without racism."

Trump's most recent antisemitic filth also channels much older lies and conspiracy theories such as the Protocols of the Elders of Zio and the idea of "blood libel".

I asked John Roth who, along with Leonard Grob, co-authored the book, "Warnings: The Holocaust, Ukraine, and Endangered American Democracy," for his insights about the larger historical context for Trump's most recent antisemitic attacks:

Antisemitism has been called "the longest hatred".  These images are part of that dismal history.  Rooted in lies, their antisemitic tropes and canards are scarcely original.  Antisemites recycle them because they successfully incite hostility toward Jews and animosity toward Jewish communities. 

One of the most persistent and insidious falsehoods is that Jewish wealth controls politicians—of the "wrong" kind—and aims to dominate the world. Nazi antisemitism tarred Churchill and Stalin with a brush repurposed today by Trumpist antisemitism to smear Joe Biden as a puppet of corrupt Jewish power.

I also asked Federico Finchelstein, the author of "A Brief History of Fascist Lies," for his thoughts about Trump's most recent antisemitic attacks against Biden and Soros. 

This ad shows how racism & antisemitic conspiracy theories remain at the center of the current right-wing extremisms. There is no fascism without racism. Racism was at the center of the fascist worldview. It was central to fascists like Hitler and Mussolini because racism allowed them to lie about enemies of the nation. Racism and propaganda relied on each other. Sadly, we see the same pattern in Trumpism.

This ad is one more symptom of their fascist way of propagandizing.

In terms of speech, there is not much difference between Hitler's paranoia and propaganda about Jewish financiers and the current attempts to turn one Jewish investor (G. Soros) into the source of all evils. The goal is to confuse people. These lies have the aim of shattering reality and replacing it with myth. If we are to learn from the history of fascism we should be worried about those like Trump, Bolsonaro, Modi, etc that want to manipulate these racist lies and beliefs into political weapons. In the past, the results of this propaganda were horrible, especially for the victims.

It is sad that after Holocaust and all the destruction and misery that fascism created, we still see these fascist lies and propaganda at the center of politics.

We need your help to stay independent

Donald Trump's continued antisemitic escalations should not be "surprising" or "shocking". In many ways, this is all utterly predictable, transparent, and the function of a type of path dependency.

In an essay here at Salon last week I explained how, "As detailed in historian George Fredrickson's landmark book "Racism: A Short History," there is a complex and overlapping relationship between the "religious" antisemitism of the European Middle Ages, the racist and white supremacist project of white-on-black chattel slavery, colonialism, imperialism, and then the Nazism and racial antisemitism of the 20th century. This translates into a type of path dependency, if not inevitable outcome: As the "conservative" movement becomes increasingly racist and white supremacist, it then becomes increasingly antisemitic. …

As Donald Trump finally faces serious consequences for his decades-long crime spree, he has become more antisemitic. This is true more generally for the MAGA movement, the Republican Party, and the larger right wing during the Trumpocene – but especially since the coup attempt on Jan. 6, and now the indictments of Donald Trump and his cabal for his and their crimes against democracy and society. Trump will only become more bold and gross as the 2024 presidential election approaches and the walls of justice close in."

Donald Trump's, the Republican fascists and larger white right's antisemitic attacks over the last seven or so years (and examples of white supremacy and racism more generally) are almost too numerous to comprehensively list.

During the 2016 campaign Trump sent out or otherwise recirculated antisemitic images as part of their attacks Hillary Clinton; the Trump campaign has previously suggested that Bernie Sanders, who is Jewish, secretly controls Joe Biden; Trump infamously said in 2017 that the neo-Nazis and other white supremacists who participated in a lethal rampage in Charlottesville are "very fine people"; Trump's senior adviser Stephen Miller has many documented connections with white supremacists and other hatemongers — and shaped the Trump regime's policies to that end.

The Trump administration refused to properly honor International Holocaust Remembrance Day by deciding to omit the specific crimes against humanity suffered by the Jewish People.

Want a daily wrap-up of all the news and commentary Salon has to offer? Subscribe to our morning newsletter, Crash Course.

A majority of Republicans and Trump voters and followers believe in the white supremacist "great replacement" conspiracy theory lie which claims that there is a secret plot being orchestrated by "the deep state" and "globalists" (code for "the Jews") to replace "white people" in America and Europe with non-whites and Muslims. Public opinion polls also show that, contrary to the abundant evidence, Republican and right-wing voters do not believe that antisemitism is a serious problem in the United States.

The QAnon conspiracy-lie, which is believed in by a majority of Republicans and Trump voters, is a 21st-century version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, blood libel and the lie that Jewish people kidnap children and drink their blood as a way of obtaining superpowers.

Contrary to how too many in the mainstream news media, the political class, and general public would like to believe, one cannot "flirt with" or "play footsy" with antisemitism and other forms of white supremacy and racism. Such language and beliefs do the work of minimizing and distorting – and therefore empowering and enabling — such beliefs and behavior in their various forms.

As seen with the Tree of Life massacre, the Buffalo massacre, and the El Paso massacre (and a large increase in hate crimes and other such violence during the Age of Trump and beyond) where white supremacists targeted Jewish people, black Americans, and Hispanics and Latinos for mass murder, antisemitism, racism(s), and white supremacy are lethal.

Ultimately, such values are an existential threat to America's multiracial pluralistic democracy and the overall safety and security of the country. On this, Lenny Grob, who is co-author of "Warnings: The Holocaust, Ukraine, and Endangered American Democracy", offered the following warning and call to action via email:

In the United States today much political grievance is inseparable from White nationalism, racism, and sexism. They breed and feed each other.  As those divisive "isms" infect American life, another—antisemitism, hatred toward Jews and their communities—resurges in the United States.  MAGA Republicanism harbors it.

The health of American democracy depends on rejecting antisemitism and embracing inclusive pluralism instead. Commitment to freedom of speech means that antisemitism cannot be silenced in the United States, but wise Americans will neither trust nor vote for any political party that harbors it.

John K. Roth agrees:  

Democracy's existence invites its demise.  That's partly because democracy encourages freedom of speech.  Without that freedom, democracy would scarcely exist.  But the quality of words matters.  When they spew antisemitism and condone anti-Jewish attitudes and actions—sometimes by saying nothing—threats against democracy multiply.  Democracy is vulnerable to antidemocratic power. To the extent that antisemitism exists, democracy does not. Whenever antisemitism is curbed and thwarted, democracy's chances get better.

Donald Trump and the other Republican fascists are continuing to wallow in antisemitism because they have made a calculation that there is a large and receptive audience for such appeals among their voters and the "conservative" public at large. In short, Trump and the other neofascists would not be trafficking in antisemitism and other forms of racism and white supremacy if they did not have good reason to believe it works. Based on Trump's fundraising numbers, his enduring popularity among MAGA and other Republican voters, and how he is tied with (or in many polls defeating) President Biden in a hypothetical 2024 rematch, there is a larger and hungry audience for such hateful and evil appeals to the worst and not the best of the American people and their collective character.

By Chauncey DeVega

Chauncey DeVega is a senior politics writer for Salon. His essays can also be found at He also hosts a weekly podcast, The Chauncey DeVega Show. Chauncey can be followed on Twitter and Facebook.

MORE FROM Chauncey DeVega