In response to a question Thursday about threats to Jewish centers nationwide, President Donald Trump called a Jewish reporter a liar, told him to sit down and later said anti-Semitism was coming from "the other side."
The exchange kicked off as Trump looked through the room at a White House news conference and asked for a question from a "friendly reporter."
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He settled on a reporter who identified himself as Jake Turx, a reporter with Ami Magazine, which bills itself as "a new standard in Jewish media." Turx prefaced his question by saying he did not see evidence the President or his staff were anti-Semitic. He even mentioned Trump's Jewish grandchildren.
He then launched into the thrust of his question about bomb threats to dozens of Jewish Community Centers last month.
"What we are concerned about, and what we haven't really heard being addressed, is an uptick in anti-Semitism and how the government is planning to take care of it," Turx said.
As Turx continued, Trump interrupted, "See, he said he was going to ask a very simple, easy question, and it's not."
The reporter said, "It's an important one."
"Not a simple question. Not a fair question. OK, sit down. I understand the rest of your question," Trump said. "So here's the story folks. No. 1, I am the least anti-Semitic person that you've ever seen in your entire life. No. 2, racism. The least racist person. In fact, we did very well relative to other people running as a Republican."
Turx raised his hand again and spoke up.
"Quiet, quiet, quiet," Trump replied. "See he lied about -- he was going to get up and ask a very straight, simple question. So, you know, welcome to the world of the media."
Turx shook his head, and Trump continued as if he himself had been accused of anti-Semitism, despite Turx's preface.
"But let me just tell you something: I hate the charge. I find it repulsive. I hate even the question because people that know me -- and you heard the Prime Minister, you heard Benjamin Netanyahu, did you hear him, Bibi? He said, 'I've known Donald Trump for a long time,' and then he said, 'Forget it.' So you should take that instead of having to get up and ask a very insulting question like that."
Later on in the news conference, Sirius XM's Jared Rizzi said, "I'll follow up on my colleague's question about anti-Semitism. It's not about your personality or your beliefs. We're talking about a rise in anti-Semitism around the country. Some of it by supporters in your name. What can you do to deter that?"
Trump said, "Some of it is written by our opponents. You do know that? Do you understand that? You don't think anybody would do a thing like that?"