“The first lady thinks that it’s horrible what they’ve said about Israel and horrible what they’ve said about our country, these congresswomen. They can’t call our country and our people ‘garbage.’ They can’t be anti-Semitic. They can’t talk about evil Jews, which is what they say. ‘Evil Jews,’ ” Trump said Friday.
In both cases, he was twisting a quote to bolster his allegation that “they hate our country.”
Facts First: Ocasio-Cortez did not call Americans “garbage”; she said in March that the country has gone so far in the wrong direction that people shouldn’t be satisfied with moderate policies that are merely “10% better from garbage.” None of the congresswomen have uttered the phrase “evil Jews”; Omar tweeted in 2012 that Israel had committed “evil doings.”
Let’s tackle the comments one by one.
What Ocasio-Cortez said
Ocasio-Cortez, a New York congresswoman, did not call any person “garbage,” much less Americans as a group.
Ocasio-Cortez was asked at an event at the South by Southwest festival why it has taken so long for there to be Democratic candidates who run on bold progressive policies like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal.
“I think all of these things sound radical compared to where we are. But where we are is not a good thing. This idea of 10% better from garbage shouldn’t be what we settle for. It feels like moderate is not a stance, it’s just an attitude toward life of like, ‘meh,’ ” she told her interviewer from The Intercept.
Her remark can be interpreted as her saying that the current state of the country is “garbage.” But it is false to say, as Trump did, that she called “our people” garbage.
Trump was briefly closer to accurate in his rally speech in North Carolina on Wednesday, in which he said, “She described contemporary America” as garbage. But he then added, “That’s you, that’s me, that’s all of us — as garbage.” That’s just not true.
What Omar said
Omar, a Minnesota congresswoman, tweeted in 2012: “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel. #Gaza #Palestine #Israel.”
The tweet was called anti-Semitic by both Republicans and Democrats when it resurfaced this year.
She emphasized again that she was not attacking the Jewish people, saying, “It is important to distinguish between criticizing a military action by a government and attacking a particular people of faith.”
Some of her critics found this unsatisfactory. Regardless, it is indisputable that Omar did not say “evil Jews.”