Trump Asked, ‘Is This a Good Jewish Character Right Here?’ in 2021 Video

Donald Trump made bigoted remarks about Jews and Persians at an event in 2021, in a new video provided by a British documentary filmmaker.

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Trump Asked, ‘Is This a Good Jewish Character Right Here?’ in 2021 Video |


Former President Donald J. Trump inquired whether a documentary filmmaker recording an interview with him last year was a “good Jewish character,” described Persians as “very good salesmen” and complained that Israeli Jews favored him more than Jews in the United States, a new clip released by the filmmaker shows.

“In Israel, I’m at like 94 percent, but I got 27, 28 percent,” Mr. Trump says in the video, referring to what he claimed was his approval rating among Israeli Jews versus American Jews.

The video was recorded on May 20, 2021, and was provided to The New York Times by the documentary filmmaker, Alex Holder. It was filmed at an event at Mr. Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, N.J., as he spoke with several people.

The commentary appeared to have started after a woman approached Mr. Trump and referred to “the Jews who didn’t vote for you.” At one point in the recording, the former president asked if the camera was rolling, then added, “Don’t let it roll.”

As the camera recorded him, Mr. Trump boasted of signing an executive order in 2019 recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. And he complained that his poll numbers among U.S. Jews were nowhere near what they were in Israel.

Pointing to Mr. Holder and speaking to someone off camera, Mr. Trump asked, “Is this a good Jewish character right here?” People standing nearby laughed. “You’ve got to love Trump,” Mr. Trump said.

He continued: “In Israel, I’m the most popular. With Orthodox, I’m the most popular.”

Mr. Holder’s footage was subpoenaed by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol. He interviewed Mr. Trump and those close to him, including some of his children, during the crucial months around the 2020 election as Mr. Trump refused to concede defeat. The clip was ultimately not included in the documentary, which is called “Unprecedented” and aired on Discovery Plus, a streaming service.

The former president’s remarks echoed antisemitic comments that Mr. Trump made in a post on his social media site, Truth Social, on Sunday, in which he excoriated U.S. Jews and said they needed to “get their act together” and appreciate him the way Israeli Jews do, “before it’s too late.”

Mr. Trump has a long history of making racist statements about Black people and immigrants, among others. He also has a history of invoking antisemitic stereotypes.

A spokesman for Mr. Trump did not respond to a request for comment.

At another point in Mr. Holder’s footage, Mr. Trump pointed out “what I did for the rabbi from Iowa,” referring to Sholom Rubashkin, whose kosher meatpacking plant in Iowa was raided in 2008 by federal agents, who found hundreds of undocumented immigrants working there, including several children.

Mr. Rubashkin — who in fact was not a rabbi — was later convicted of bank fraud. Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, was among those who had urged him to reduce Mr. Rubashkin’s prison sentence, according to people familiar with the events. Mr. Trump commuted the sentence in 2017, a move that some White House officials disagreed with.

The clip cuts off as Mr. Trump asks someone else: “You Persian? Very smart. Be careful, they’re very good salesmen.”

In an interview, Mr. Holder said that the clip did not make it into the documentary because of editing constraints, among other reasons.

Mr. Holder said that in one of their meetings, Mr. Trump had, off camera, expected Mr. Holder to be appreciative of the fact that as president, he had moved the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. Mr. Trump, he said, seemed surprised when Mr. Holder explained that he was British. “But you’re Jewish,” he recalled Mr. Trump saying.

“It’s the typical trope, right?” Mr. Holder said. He was referring to the antisemitic “dual loyalties” attack that is often used against Jews, in which they are accused of being more loyal to one another than to their country.


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