A day after the latest deadly shooting at a synagogue, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) attacked critics of President Donald Trump on Sunday for suggesting that the president’s rhetoric might have emboldened anti-Semitic forces. His reasoning: Trump has been pro-Israel and has a Jewish son-in-law. Instead, he said, the real culprit was a non-binding House resolution.
On Fox News, Gohmert cited an unnamed critic who tied Trump’s violent and bigoted rhetoric to Saturday’s Poway, Calififornia, synagogue shooting, in which one person was killed and three others injured.
Trump quickly denounced Saturday’s shooting as a hate crime, but in the past, he has drawn criticism for his slow or non-existent response to Islamophobic attacks and white nationalism and his defense of neo-Nazis after a deadly rally in Charlottesville, Virginia as “very fine people.” Many of those people chanted lines like “Jews will not replace us.”
Gohmert didn’t mention any of that history in his Fox News interview.
“For heaven’s sake, he’s got a son-in-law that’s Jewish,” Gohmert said, referring to Ivanka Trump’s husband Jared Kushner. “This man has done more for Israel, according to [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, than any president we’ve ever had. And yet, they want to call him anti-Semitic.”
Gohmert then suggested that it is actually congressional Democrats who are to blame for the shooting and that they are “projecting” their own anti-Semitic views onto Trump.
“The Democrats are the only people who would not call out and condemn, specifically, anti-Semitic remarks,” he said, referring to a March non-binding House resolution that jointly condemned anti-Semitism and other types of hate but did not specifically address criticisms of the pro-Israel lobby by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) that Gohmert had found objectionable. “And there’s a price for doing that,” Gohmert concluded.
Gohmert himself voted against the anti-hate resolution, saying it “became so generic that it lost its meaning or significance.”
Trump has engaged in several anti-Semitic tropes. In a meeting with Jewish-American supporters earlier this month, Trump referred to Netanyahu as “your prime minister,” a clear accusation of dual loyalty. When campaigning for president, he asked the Republican Jewish Coalition, “You’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money. Is there anyone in this room who doesn’t negotiate deals? Probably more than any room I’ve ever spoken.” He also shared an image of Hillary Clinton with the Star of David and a pile of money in the background.
As president, Trump has cut grants to grassroots organizations fighting white supremacists’ violent extremism.
Gohmert also came under fire earlier this year for his defense of his white nationalist colleague Rep. Steve King (R-IA). After King was quoted in the New York Times in January asking, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” Gohmert responded: “He was talking about Western civilization, that, ‘When did Western civilization become a negative?’ and that’s a fair question. When did Western civilization become a negative?”