WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump on Friday claimed Democratic politicians treat Jewish people with "total disrespect," saying his Republican Party would welcome them with "open arms."
He used a morning tweet to claim the so-called "'Jexodus' movement" of offended Democrats out of the party after a freshman congresswoman's recent controversial remarks is fueled by "Total disrespect!" shown to them by Democratic politicians.
The president always appears focused on his re-election, and offered frustrated Jewish Democrats a new political home.
Trump last Friday told reporters that recent controversial remarks about the influence of Jewish donors on politicians by freshman Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar show "the Democrats have become an anti-Israel party" and an "anti-Jewish party."
During a fundraiser last week at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, Axios reported the president was even more blunt, saying flatly he believes "Democrats hate Jewish people."
During her first press briefing in 42 days, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday was asked about the president's weekend comment several times. At no point did she tell reporters that her boss does not really believe that.
At one point, NBC News correspondent Hallie Jackson gave Sanders an opportunity to merely reply yes or no. She chose not to, instead saying reporters should ask Democrats if they do indeed harbor hatred of Jewish people and Israel.
But the chief White House spokeswoman's response did reiterate Trump's stance.
His religious-based tweet broke yet another norm. That's because it came as New Zealand was dealing with a gun slaughter at a mask that left at least 49 dead. Minutes before his tweet offering Jewish people a place in the GOP, Trump did fire off a tweet offering his condolences and support in the wake of the mass shooting.
Other American presidents would have stopped there. But not Trump -- even though New Zealand authorities revealed the shooter left behind a white supremacist manifesto that praise Trump and other figures for, in his view, restoring the white race.
Trump has come under harsh criticism from Democratic lawmakers and some Republicans for siding -- at least partially -- with white supremacist groups at times like the days after the deadly Charlottesville, Virginia, race-based violence.
Before her boss began his daily Twitter-based broadcasts of his messages for the day, Sanders issued a statement about the New Zealand shooting.
"The United States strongly condemns the attack in Christchurch. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families," she said. "We stand in solidarity with the people of New Zealand and their government against this vicious act of hate."
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