New York – Donald Trump says Hillary Clinton’s campaign is “ridiculous” to portray an anti-Clinton tweet that appeared to depict the Star of David atop a pile of cash as anti-Semitic.
In a statement issued by his Republican presidential campaign Monday evening, Trump suggested Clinton and her allies were using the matter to distract from her own recent campaign troubles.
Trump said the tweet portrayed “a basic star, often used by sheriffs who deal with criminals and criminal behavior,” as part of an effort to convey that “Crooked Hillary is the most corrupt candidate ever.”
It was the presumptive GOP nominee’s most extensive comment since his official account tweeted— then deleted — the image Saturday, sparking uproar over its potentially anti-Semitic connotations. Trump’s account later posted a new version with a circle in place of the six-point star.
It remains unclear where the campaign found the image, but it previously appeared on a white supremacist message board filled with anti-Semitic messages as well as the Twitter feed of a self-identified comedian who tweeted provocative and offensive images.
Trump’s campaign has not responded to questions since Saturday about who posted the message and where it was found.
Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said Trump’s attempt to dismiss the concerns of people who have taken issue with the post “falls somewhere between absurd and offensive.”
“It’s not a left-wing issue or a right-wing issue,” he said. “It’s not a Democratic issue or a Republican issue. It’s a matter of common sense.” Greenblatt said: “It would be appropriate and timely for the presumptive GOP nominee for the White House to say unequivocally, I want nothing to do with these ideas,” and to say “hate has no place in making America great again.”
Earlier Monday, Sarah Bard, director of Jewish outreach for Clinton’s Democratic presidential campaign, said in a statement that “Trump’s use of a blatantly anti-Semitic image from racist websites to promote his campaign” was part of a pattern by him. “Now, not only won’t he apologize for it, he’s peddling lies and blaming others,” she added. “Trump should be condemning hate, not offering more campaign behavior and rhetoric that engages extremists.”
In his statement, Trump accused Clinton’s campaign of using the tweet to try to “divert attention from the dishonest behavior of herself and her husband.” He cited her “missing emails” and Bill Clinton’s impromptu meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch as her agency oversees the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state.
Trump has long professed his support for Israel and his daughter converted to Judaism before her marriage. But he has come under scrutiny for repeatedly re-tweeting posts from white supremacists’ accounts and for not immediately renouncing the support of former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke.