Eric Trump called journalist Bob Woodward’s new book about the White House “sensational nonsense” that he wrote “to make three extra shekels,” drawing criticism by social media users who noted the reference to the Israeli currency can have anti-Semitic connotations.
US President Donald Trump’s son made the remarks in a Wednesday interview on “Fox & Friends.”
Woodward’s book, “Fear: Trump in the White House,” depicts a White House mired in dysfunction, with aides disparaging the Republican president and working to prevent him from making disastrous decisions. The book quotes anonymous sources.
“But don’t you think people look through the fact that you can write some sensational nonsense book? CNN will definitely have you on there because they love to trash the president,” Eric Trump said.
“It will mean you sell three extra books, you make three extra shekels, at the behest of the American people, at the behest of our country and a president that’s doing a phenomenal job by every quantifiable metric,” he continued.
The modern Israeli currency is named after currency referenced in the Bible. It is also an American and Irish term slang for money, showing up in old potboilers like Mickey Spillane’s “I, The Jury”: “Generally a runner made plenty for himself, taking a chance that the dough he clipped wasn’t on the number that pulled in the shekels.”
But on some anti-Semitic corners of the web, it is often used sarcastically to refer to Jewish money or influence.
Some Twitter users were quick to criticize Trump for using the term.
“The only people who refer to being paid off as wanting ‘extra shekels’ are Israelis speaking Hebrew and anti-Semites speaking English outside Israel. Eric Trump doesn’t speak Hebrew, so you know exactly who he has been reading online,” wrote Yair Rosenberg, a senior writer at Tablet.
Jonathan Weissman, the Washington deputy editor of The New York Times, called the remark “outrageous.”
“If you want to see how the neo-Nazis use the term ‘shekels’ take a quick glance at The Daily Stormer,” he tweeted. “Eric Trump’s ‘three extra shekels’ attack on Bob Woodward is not some accident any more than Hillary Clinton’s image over a Star of David.”