Ultra-Orthodox Jewish reporter defends Trump's response to anti-Semitism claims
Nicholas Kamm (AFP)
The ultra-Orthodox Jewish reporter who challenged President Donald Trump in a press conference Thursday with his concerns of growing anti-Semitism since the new administration took office, has defended the US president’s spiky response.
Jake Turx, a reporter from Ami Magazine, questioned the president about the surge of anti-Semitic incidents across the country in recent months, to which President Trump snapped back, “that’s not a fair question” and telling the reporter to “sit down” before he could finish the question.
Trump stated that he was“the least anti-Semitic person you’ve ever seen in your entire life” and the “the least racist person.”
"I hate the charge, I find it repulsive, I hate the question," Trump continued, reprimanding the reporter for asking "a very insulting question."
Despite backlash over Trump’s response from several politicians and American Jewish groups, Turx said he understood why the president was defensive.
“It’s very unfair what’s been done to him and I understand why he’s so defensive,” he said in an interview with Fox News later on Thursday. “I’m with him when it comes to being outraged about him being charged with this anti-Semitism,”
A similar question had been posed to Trump in a joint press conference with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on Wednesday, to which he responded, "We are going to do everything we can to stop racism."
"As far as Jewish people - so many friends, a daughter, a son-in-law and three beautiful grandchildren - I think you’re going to see a very different America in the next three, four years," he said, referring to his daughter Ivanka, who converted to Judaism before marrying Jared Kushner.
Turx prefaced his own question at the press conference by stating he did not believe Trump was anti-Semitic.
“I haven’t seen anyone in my community accuse you or anyone on your staff of being anti-Semitic,” Turx stated, but was concerned about how the relatively new administration planned to handle growing anti-Semitism and increasing frequency of anti-Semitic incidents.
“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 said.
In recent months, there have been a surge of bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers across the United States.
On January 18 twenty-seven Jewish community centers in 17 states had to be evacuated in a third wave of bomb threats made over the phone.
The harassment is undergoing FBI investigation as a hate crime.
Turx took to Twitter to state that “President Trump clearly misunderstood" the question.
"This is highly regretful and I'm going to seek clarification,” he tweeted.
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