In first speech since dinner with West and Fuentes, Trump calls himself ‘the best ally’ for Jewish people

‘How do you do that?’ Trump asked Orthodox Jewish group, complaining about the lack of Jewish support in 2020

Former President Donald Trump didn’t mention his dinner with two prominent antisemitic figures last month in an address to a Jewish group Friday morning, his first public speech since the controversy ensued.

But speaking at a weekend conference by Torah U’Mesorah, an Orthodox educational group from New York, at his National Doral club in Miami, Trump claimed to be “the best ally” the Jewish people “have ever had.”

Since he dined with rapper Kanye West, who changed his name to Ye and went on a tirade of antisemitism and Holocaust denial in recent weeks, and Nick Fuentes, a prominent white supremacist, Trump has refused to condemn either of them. Instead, he criticized Jewish leaders and echoed common antisemitic tropes, saying his Jewish critics “lack loyalty” and “should be ashamed of themselves,” for not appreciating his pro-Israel policies while he was in office.

Trump spent most of his 30-minute speech — posted on YouTube — citing a recent article by Rabbi Dov Fischer, detailing “the things I have done for my Jewish friends and the Jewish people, and for Israel.” He earned the biggest round of applause when he mentioned his commutation of the jail sentence of Sholom Rubashkin, a kosher meat executive who was found guilty in 2009 of 86 counts of bank fraud and sentenced to 27 years in prison in December 2017. Rubashkin, whom Trump referred to as “the rabbi from Iowa” even though he was not a rabbi, had become a cause célèbre in some parts of the Orthodox community.