Donald Trump insisted again on Wednesday night that his negative tweet about Hillary Clinton did not feature a Star of David atop a pile of cash. He also reiterated his praise for Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein for killing terrorists.
At a rally in Cincinnati, the Republican presumptive nominee said that the star in the tweet was just “a regular star or maybe a sheriff’s star” and that he wished his campaign had not deleted the image amid criticism.
Trump was slammed for the image of the six-pointed star, which some, including his opponent Hillary Clinton, had deemed anti-Semitic. He insisted the media “was racist” for assuming that the image had Jewish connotations.
He also said he was not anti-Semitic, noting that his daughter Ivanka had converted to Judaism for marriage and is raising her children Jewish.
Having been slammed on Tuesday for praising the late Iraqi dictator, Trump on Wednesday again hailed Saddam’s handling of terrorists. He personally hated Saddam, Trump said, and accused the media of distorting his remarks. “I don’t love Saddam Hussein,” he said. “I hate Saddam Hussein.” Then he added, however, “But he was damn good at killing terrorists.”
The rant about the tweet came amid a long list of Trump complaints about the media’s coverage of several recent controversies, including his apparent praise of Saddam Hussein and the size of his crowds.
Trump’s complaint follows a defense of the candidate by his Jewish son-in-law Jared Kushner, who denied that the billionaire businessman would knowingly ignore anti-Semitic symbolism.
Kushner, the owner of the New York Observer, was responding to an open letter penned by a writer at the paper, accusing him of pandering to white supremacists and of “playing dumb” over the image.
Trump deleted the image, but many considered it to be the latest in a series of messages from his campaign with anti-Semitic undertones.
Kushner is heavily involved in Trump’s presidential campaign, as is his wife Ivanka.
In a press statement, Kushner seemed to deny ignoring the anti-Semitic messaging of the controversial tweet, insisting Trump was too tolerant to have ever intended the suspected racist message.
“My father-in-law is an incredibly loving and tolerant person who has embraced my family and our Judaism since I began dating my wife. I know that Donald does not subscribe to any racist or anti-Semitic thinking,” the statement said.
Kushner’s statement continued: “I have personally seen him embrace people of all racial and religious backgrounds. The suggestion that he may be intolerant is not reflective of the Donald Trump I know.”
In the open letter to him, published Tuesday, entertainment writer Dana Schwartz described the anti-Semitic vitriol she received online when she criticized the image, and slammed the Trump campaign for refusing to understand or acknowledge the nature of the symbolism, instead accusing the media and the Clinton camp of distorting the message.
“It takes only a basic knowledge of world history or an understanding of how symbols work to see a wall of cash, a Star of David, and the accusation of corruption and not see the subtext,” Schwartz wrote, adding that Kushner was allowing his father-in-law to foster anti-Semitism.