Eric Trump made an anti-Semitic comment on Fox News—and none of the hosts seemed to care
Over the past two years, people in President Donald Trump’s inner circle have often faced backlash for making racist remarks or otherwise bigoted comments. Most recently, on the September 12th episode of Fox and Friends, Eric Trump made an anti-Semitic remark that raised many eyebrows—although the conservative hosts he was talking to didn’t seem bothered in the slightest.
Trump appeared on the show to defend his father’s presidency from backlash, even praising the administration’s response to Hurricane Florence (which has yet to make landfall). The president’s son also insulted journalist Bob Woodward, whose book, Fear: Trump in the White House, has already made headlines with its depiction of an executive branch in chaos. Trump called the book “sensational nonsense,” and then proceeded to use a term many are calling anti-Semitic.
"You can write a sensational nonsense book, CNN will definitely have you on there because they love to trash the president," Trump said on-air. "It’ll mean you sell three extra books, you make three extra shekels—I mean, at the behest [sic] of the American people, at the behest of our country and a president that’s doing a phenomenal job by every quantifiable metric."
The shekel is a currency used in both modern-day and ancient Israel. But the term has also been adopted by many neo-Nazi groups. Keegan Hankes, a senior research analyst at the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project, told HuffPost that the comment “certainly seems like a dog whistle”—suggesting that Trump purposefully used the term to appeal to white supremacists.
Hankes wasn’t alone in his interpretation of Trump’s word choice.
Those calling out Trump’s anti-Semitism included Jonathan Weisman, Deputy Washington Editor at The New York Times.
Others chimed in, too.
Woodward himself also weighed in on the issue, telling CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Anderson Cooper 360°, “I just hope no one would talk like that.”
"I think that just doesn’t fit. I’m sorry," he added. "Anyone talks like that, whether it’s a dog whistle or whatever the intent is, it’s not, part of the point of this book is that we need to have a serious debate about serious issues. And to use invective and this attack rhetoric, whatever it might be, it sets us back."
We’re glad the backlash to Eric Trump’s thinly veiled bigotry was swift. We need to call out this behavior whenever and wherever we see it.