Donald Trump said Wednesday that his campaign should not have deleted a tweet containing an image that had been posted weeks earlier on a white supremacist website and featured Hillary Clinton, $100 bills and a red six-point star with the text: “Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!”
Although Jewish activists and many others have denounced the image as being anti-Semitic, Trump repeatedly said Wednesday that the six-point star is “just a star,” not the Jewish Star of David, and that media outlets that covered the controversy are “racially profiling.”
“I said: ‘You shouldn’t have taken it down.’ You know, they took the star down,” Trump said to a crowd of several thousand at a rally on Wednesday night. “I said: ‘Too bad. You should have left it up.’ I would have rather defended it — just leave it up and say: No, that’s not a Star of David. That’s just a star.”
For more than five minutes, Trump defended the tweet, uttering the word “star” at least two dozen times and keeping alive a five-day-old controversy that most leaders of the Republican Party had hoped would fade away. Trump tried to narrow the controversy to the proper name of the six-point shape while ignoring that the image had previously appeared on a white supremacist website, according to mic.com, and that it was positioned atop a sea of money, which is a common way to denigrate Jews.
The tweet in question first appeared on Trump’s personal Twitter account on Saturday morning, as news broke that Attorney General Loretta Lynch had privately met with former president Bill Clinton on an airport tarmac in Phoenix. The tweet included this message: “Crooked Hillary – – Makes History!” In less than two hours, Trump’s campaign had deleted the tweet and issued a new image featuring a red circle instead of a six-point star.
The tweet was embraced and celebrated by several prominent white supremacists, who considered the tweet a signal from Trump. The Anti-Defamation League called on Trump to “unequivocally reject the hate-filled extremists orbiting around his campaign and take a stand against anti-Semitism, bigotry, and hate.” House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) said that anti-Semitic images have “no place in a presidential campaign,” and some leading Jewish Republican donors and activists also voiced concerns.
Later Wednesday, Trump also tweeted a picture of a product for the Disney movie “Frozen” that featured a purple star.
At the rally on Wednesday, Trump said the image was tweeted by his director of social media Daniel Scavino Jr., a former golf caddy whom Trump described as “a very fine person” who is “married to a Jewish woman.” Trump said that when he first saw the tweet, he saw “a star, like a star.” But Trump said that the media — and no one else — decided it was a Star of David and that its use was inappropriate.
“It could have been a sheriff’s star. It could have been a regular star,” Trump said. “My boy comes home from school — Barron — he draws stars all over the place. I never said: ‘Oh, that’s the Star of David, Barron…’ It’s a star! Have you all seen this? It’s a star!”
Trump then made clear that he considers this particular shape a “sheriff’s star.” As Trump spoke, the crowd of several thousand cheered him on. One woman yelled: “Yes!” While a man kept saying aloud: “It’s a star! It’s a star!”
SOURCE: Jenna Johnson
The Washington Post