Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump was noticeably absent from his newborn Jewish grandson’s circumcision on Sunday, apparently forgoing the foreskin snipping ceremony in an effort to regain his campaign’s recently lost momentum in the Wisconsin primaries.
Trump’s oldest daughter Ivanka, who converted to Orthodox Judaism in 2009 in order to marry her husband, gave birth to the couple’s third child, Theodore James Kushner, last week.
Pictures published in the tabloid press and a tweet by a New York Times reporter indicated Trump was absent from the religious rite.
Donald Trump has touted his daughter’s Jewish family to appeal to Jews in his campaign for president, most recently during his speech at the AIPAC policy conference last month.
MILWAUKEE — TIGHT RACE in Wisconsin. So tight that Donald Trump is missing his grandson's bris in NY today to campaign here…
— Ashley Parker (@AshleyRParker) April 3, 2016
“I love Israel. I’ve been with Israel so long in terms of — I’ve received some of my greatest honors from Israel. My father before me, incredible. My daughter, Ivanka, is about to have a beautiful Jewish baby,” Trump said.
Trump’s eldest daughter has previously said that Judaism is important to her family’s life in New York, calling her family “pretty observant.”
She and husband Jared Kushner belong to a local Orthodox synagogue, observe Shabbat and in 2013 had a circumcision for their firstborn son, Joseph, now 3. They also have a 4-year-old daughter, Arabella.
Recent polls in Wisconsin suggest Ted Cruz is favored over the billionaire real estate mogul in the state’s primaries.
Trump on Saturday arrived in Wisconsin to do some damage control following a series of controversial comments he made in recent days on NATO, abortion and his remark that Japan and South Korea should perhaps be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons.
Among his biggest missteps were his comments on abortion. Last Wednesday Trump said women should be punished for getting abortions if they’re ever banned — a position the notoriously unapologetic campaign quickly reversed.
Trump’s comments raised concerns in the Republican Party about whether his unpopularity with women as measured in preference polling would make him unelectable in a general election match-up against Democrat Hillary Clinton.
In an apparent effort to address that concern, Trump said his wife, Melania, would be campaigning with him Monday and announced Ivanka would return to the campaign trail in the coming weeks.
Trump’s performance in Tuesday’s contest will help determine whether he can seize the Republican nomination without a fight at the convention.
JTA contributed to this report.