Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, confirmed to the Los Angeles Times in an interview published Friday his view that President Donald Trump is racist.
Asked, “Would you describe the president as racist?”, Greenbelt replied: “I think he’s really used racist language at times, yeah. Some of the ways he’s described, for example, people of Mexican descent are rather hard to square with what you expect from the commander in chief.”
It is unclear what Greenblatt meant with his reference to “people of Mexican descent.”
In June 2015, when Trump launched his campaign for president, he said: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” He added: “And some, I assume, are good people.”
Later, during the campaign, Trump suggested that Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel might be biased against him in a case against Trump University because of his Mexican heritage — in the context of a campaign in which Trump had been deeply critical of Mexico for allowing illegal immigration into the United States.
Elsewhere in the interview, the ADL’s Greenblatt — a former Obama administration official — blamed a “charged political environment” for a rise in antisemitism, and appeared to blame Trump himself: “People are on edge in part because they are following their leaders. When leaders at the highest levels use incredibly intemperate language and repeat the rhetoric of extremists, we shouldn’t be surprised when young people — let alone others — imitate what they see. … Certainly the president, among everyone, has the biggest bully pulpit.”
The ADL CEO also said that he judged leaders by their actions more than on “what people are” — but did not bother to note President Trump’s many actions on behalf of minorities — including, most recently, sweeping prison reform legislation.
Trump has also attacked antisemitism vehemently, and moved the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem — none of which Greenblatt acknowledged in the interview.
Greenblatt has been accused by critics of politicizing the ADL.
Recently, for example, Greenblatt accepted the “apology’ of first-year Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar for using antisemitic rhetoric in a 2012 tweet.
Omar never actually apologized, and the tweet is still live.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) November 16, 2012
The Zionist Organization of America criticized Greenblatt’s response, noting: “Rep. Ilhan Omar’s ‘apology’ was a belated, limited ‘non-apology’ for one tiny part of Omar’s numerous vicious, Israel-hating, antisemitic, compassion-for-Israel-hating-ISIS-convicts statements and positions. And egregiously, Ilhan Omar again falsely attacked Israel in the very same breath along with her phony, non-substantive ‘non-apology.’”
The ADL’s own statistics for 2017 showed that despite a rise in antisemitic “incidents,” physical attacks against Jews actually fell in the year after President Trump was elected.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.