Trump says Israel used to ‘rightfully’ own Congress

In a radio interview the former president also said American Jews should have voted for him due to his support for Israel.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Former president Donald Trump said approvingly in a radio interview Friday that Israel used to “own Congress,” but that it is no longer the case due to the progressive Democrats who are turning the House against the Jewish state.

“The biggest change I’ve seen in Congress is Israel literally owned Congress — you understand that – ten years ago, 15 years ago,” Trump said on the Seattle-based Ari Hoffman Show. “And it was so powerful. It was so powerful and today it’s almost the opposite.”

He named two of the Representatives considered most antisemitic in the House as the leading cause, saying, “You have – between AOC [NY Rep. Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez] and [MN Rep. Ilhan] Omar and these people that hate Israel, they hate it with a passion – they’re controlling Congress and Israel is not a force in Congress anymore, it’s – I mean – it’s just amazing. I’ve never seen such a change, and we’re not talking about a very long period of time,” he said.

Omar and Ocasio-Cortez have been in Congress only since 2019, with the other four members of their so-called Squad either voted in with them or taking their seats in the last election. The Democrats hold a razor-thin, eight-member majority in the House, currently giving these progressives an outsized voice in the party.

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Trump, considered by many to be the most pro-Israel U.S. president in history, added, “Israel had such power, and rightfully.”

He made these comments right after talking of his belief that American Jews didn’t vote massively for him because “many of them do not like Israel.”

Pointing to an iconic paper owned by a Jewish family as an example, he said, “The New York Times is vicious against Israel, and it’s a terrible thing to watch.”

It was clear that Trump thought that the Jewish vote should have gone to him because they should support Israel as much as he did. He touted his signature foreign policy move, saying, “Frankly, I think the biggest thing probably I did for Israel was breaking up the Iran nuclear deal.”

When Hoffman told him friends and family in Israel wanted him to thank Trump for the U.S.-brokered Abraham Accords, the normalization agreements between Israel and the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan, Trump acknowledged its importance and then went further.

“If we got back in [the White House]…maybe the whole thing would have been wrapped up, they were all ready to come in,” he said. A few moments later, he added, “We would have had peace in the Middle East. Now I don’t think they can, because they’re dealing with Iran again.”

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The idea that Jews vote only according to a presidential aspirant’s view of Israel has never held water, as it has been proven time and again that for most of them it is not high on their list of priorities. Conservative Jewish voters, who are overwhelmingly Orthodox, did turn out for Trump, but they are a small minority among their co-religionists.

The statement that Israel had “owned Congress” is also likely to make many Jews feel uncomfortable, even if Trump said it because he feels the United States should support Israel because it is the right thing to do. Various academics and politicians, as well as virulently antisemitic groups have often charged that Congress votes according to the wishes of an “Israel lobby,” even when it goes against American interests.