NEW YORK — Former US president Donald Trump vowed to reverse Democratic party wins in the midterms and teased an imminent announcement of a 2024 presidential run in a speech to a right-wing Jewish group in New York on Sunday.
Trump also sniped at Jewish Americans who are against him despite his support for Israel, blasted progressive Democrats and US President Joe Biden, and promised to continue his commitment to the Jewish state in an address to the Zionist Organization of America.
“As you know the Democrats got 75 percent of the vote, which is hard to believe. We can’t let that continue,” Trump said, apparently referring to the Democratic party’s success in last week’s midterm elections.
“When you see all of the horrible things that have taken place with Biden and Barack Hussein Obama and then they get 75% of the vote. What the hell is going on here? But we’re going to get it changed,” Trump told an adoring audience.
“Speaking for myself and my administration, we’ll be making a statement on Tuesday night. We’ll see what happens,” he said, alluding to an announcement of a 2024 presidential comeback run. He has teased the announcement in recent weeks and does not appear to have changed his plans due to the midterm results.
The ZOA presented Trump with its Theodor Herzl Gold Medallion at the ceremony in recognition of his support for Israel and Jews, chairman David Schoen said. The gala was held to mark the organization’s 125th anniversary.
Trump speaks to ZOA in New York pic.twitter.com/iszvm73N6f
— Luke Tress (@luketress) November 14, 2022
The organization cited the Trump administration brokering the Abraham Accords as a central reason for the honor. It also listed Trump moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, extending legal protections to Zionist students on US campuses, recognizing Israel’s sovereignty in the Golan Heights, withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal and cutting funding to the Palestinians.
ZOA chief Morton Klein said the organization rarely grants the award, reserving it for “world leaders and dignitaries” such as Lord Arthur Balfour, former British prime minister Winston Churchill, former US president Harry Truman, Israeli founding father David Ben-Gurion and former prime minister Golda Meir.
In his acceptance speech at the Chelsea Piers in Manhattan, Trump told the audience of several hundred that some US Jews were disloyal to Israel. He landed in hot water last month when he warned US Jews to “get their act together” and said they were not appreciative enough of his support for the Jewish state.
“The United States and Israel are not just allies on a military basis, but economically and politically. We’re allies morally, culturally and spiritually and we always will be, at least if I have anything to do about it,” Trump said Sunday. “But you do have people in this country that happen to be Jewish that are not doing the right thing for Israel. Too many.”
He called withdrawing from the “disastrous Iran nuclear deal” the “single most important thing” he did for Israel, tying his baseless claims of election fraud to Iran’s escalations since his withdrawal from the deal.
“We got more votes than any sitting president in history, and something screwy with our elections as you probably know, and because of that we’re now in a very bad position. Iran was weakened, Iran was ready to make a deal and they’re now very wealthy,” he said. “Biden has been groveling to the Iranian dictatorship to re-enter the nuclear deal.”
He blasted the Biden administration and progressive lawmakers including New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for allegedly being anti-Israel and supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
“There’s people in Congress who hate Israel,” Trump said.
“Biden appointed numerous anti-Israel radical leftists to key government posts including those who’ve supported the antisemitic BDS movement that calls for economic warfare against the State of Israel,” he said. “They’re just unacceptable.”
He vowed to continue his support for Israel, while issuing a warning about the Jewish state’s fragility.
“We’ll preserve our great western biblical tradition, which indeed it is, and we’ll ensure that the United States and Israel stand strong and proud and free as nations for many, many generations to come,” he said.
“Israel is a very, very special place, it’s an amazing place, it’s really a miracle,” he said. “But it’s very delicate and you have to be very careful with it because really bad things can happen and so I just say I’m with you all the way,” he said to raucous applause.
Other prominent guests at the event included the Trump administration’s Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt, Likud lawmaker Amir Ohana and Religious Zionism’s Simcha Rothman. Miriam Adelson introduced Trump via a remote video from Israel.
Trump has been expected to announce a 2024 presidential run. The Republican party fared poorly in last week’s midterm elections, though, particularly Trump-backed candidates.
The former president is also at legal risk on several fronts, including for his alleged role inciting the January 6 insurrection, his real estate company and for taking classified documents to his private home.
Last month, Trump sparked fierce backlash when he railed against US Jews, telling them to “get their act together” and accusing them of not being appreciative enough of his support for Israel, while claiming he was so popular among Israelis that he could “easily be” elected prime minister.
In a statement posted to his social media platform Truth Social, Trump argued that “No President has done more for Israel,” and wondered why “our wonderful Evangelicals are far more appreciative of this than the people of the Jewish faith, especially those living in the US.”
Trump urged Jews in the US to “get their act together and appreciate what they have in Israel – Before it is too late!” He did not elaborate.
He said that in Israel it was “a different story” and that there he enjoyed “the highest approval rate in the world,” going as far as saying he “could easily be PM.”
The Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee and others lashed Trump for the comments.
Trump made the statement several days after the ZOA announced its plans to award him.
Trump has frequently castigated US Jews for their perceived lack of gratitude and support and often conflated Israeli interests with those of American Jews, who are overwhelmingly Democrats.
While many US Jews are generally supportive of Israel, accusations of dual loyalty toward the Jewish state are typically seen as an antisemitic canard.
Trump in his Sunday speech also said he would have further expanded the Abraham Accords if he had won reelection and blasted the Palestinian leadership for alleged intransigence.
“They treated me very nicely but they were very difficult,” he said of the Palestinians. “We couldn’t get anywhere.”
He said he had made the decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights “in less than five minutes” after a briefing on the issue that only lasted a few minutes.