Ami Magazine’s chief political correspondent Jake Turx might go down in the annals of the Trump Administration as the most abused reporter in a public exchange with the president, mostly because Turx and his readers are probably the most loyal Trump supporters from sea to shiny sea. And Turx was sure he was delivering a softball for the president to hit out of the park. But, apparently, President Trump has been so overwhelmed by the relentless media attacks against him, he was unable to hear Turx’ friendly question, even though the reporter doing the asking looked Haredi and peppered his question with Yiddish.
Turx began by telling the president that no one in the Jewish community where he lives has accused him or his staff of anti-Semitism. He then reminded Trump of his Jewish grandchildren and called him their “zeidi.” At which point Turx was convinced he had plied the president with enough loving to be able to ask a more serious question about the rise in anti-Semitism since the Trump victory last November.
“What we are concerned about and what we haven’t heard you address, is an uptake in anti-Semitism and how the government is planning to take care of it,” Turx proceeded, and mentioned the 48 recent bomb threats against Jewish centers. He had more to say, but at that point – Trump had had enough and ordered him to sit down.
“See, he said he was going to ask a very simple, easy question, and it’s not,” Trump said.
Turx, still believing he was in a dialogue, said, “It’s an important one.”
But the president was no longer listening, and it is quite conceivable he had stopped listening the moment Turx had used the A word. Turx was undoubtedly sure that Trump would embrace the opportunity to attack the few bad apples, blah, blah, my administration is committed to defending Jews, blah, blah, thank you for your eloquent question.
Wasn’t gonna’ happen. Not with a president who feels so attacked by the media, his top advisor Steve Bannon has dubbed them “the opposition party all lined up.” In Trump’s stressful environment, anyone who isn’t Fox News’ Sean Hannity is ore likely to be the enemy than a friend. Poor Turx had expected the president to listen. Now he knows better.
In fact, Turx should have paid attention to the manner in which Trump introduced him before letting him ask his question. “Are you a friendly reporter?” the president asked, then turned to the rest of the media in the room saying, “Watch how friendly he is. Watch how friendly he is…”
Now, Trump leaped at his prey.
“Not a simple question. Not a fair question,” Trump berated the Haredi reporter, rebuffing him with, “OK, sit down. I understand the rest of your question.” He really, really didn’t. Turx must have felt like the loneliest man on Earth as Trump continued, treating the Haredi newsman as if he was there on behalf of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow:
“So here’s the story folks. No. one, I am the least anti-Semitic person that you’ve ever seen in your entire life. No. two, racism. The least racist person. In fact, we did very well relative to other people running as a Republican.”
The desperately misunderstood Turx raised his hand pleadingly and tried to explain himself, but Trump was already all over him: “Quiet, quiet, quiet,” he berated the poor fellow. “See, he lied about – he was going to get up and ask a very straight, simple question. So, you know, welcome to the world of the media.”
Trump charged on: “But let me just tell you something: I hate the charge. I find it repulsive. I hate even the question because people that know me – and you heard the Prime Minister, you heard Benjamin Netanyahu, did you hear him, Bibi? He said, ‘I’ve known Donald Trump for a long time,’ and then he said, ‘Forget it.’ So you should take that instead of having to get up and ask a very insulting question like that.”
If we had the time we’d have started a special online petition where people could comfort Jake Turx and tell him he is a worthwhile human being, just amazingly unlucky to be facing Donald Trump on a bad hair day. “We’re with you, Jake,” we’d call it.