The RJC’s Quandry: To Trump or Not to Trump

On Friday, Politico ran a story by Glenn Thrush and Alex Isenstadt titled, “Welcome to the GOP Civil War,” which suggests that the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) will not endorse Trump if he is the nominee.

Here’s the relevant section as highlighted by JewishInsider.com

”Next month, the Republican Jewish Coalition, a group of powerful GOP donors, will gather at the Venetian Hotel and Resort, which is owned by Republican benefactor and RJC board member Sheldon Adelson, for their annual spring meeting. Attendees are likely to vent their disgust with Trump, who has been slow to disavow support by white supremacist groups. And at the meeting, according to two sources familiar with its planning, the RJC is expected to take up a pressing question: whether to even support Trump if he’s the GOP nominee.”

It sounded strange to me that the RJC members, who are some of the most politically active people in the country, would sit on their hands during a presidential race. Seeing and hearing their antipathy toward Hillary Clinton during the RJC Washington forum in December, I couldn’t imagine this group would withhold their endorsement of Trump and help elect Clinton the next president of the United States.

I initially contacted Matt Brooks, the executive director of the RJC to verify the accuracy of the Politico report. He emailed, “That was anonymous speculation in the article. As a rule we don’t comment on anonymous sources or telegraph in any matter what our fall plans may or may not include.”

I then surveyed the many RJC board members that I know if the organization’s plan was not to endorse Trump. All of them gave me a variation of Fred Zeidman’s answer-“You heard it before I did.” Most of them demurred from definitively saying they would vote for Trump if he was their party’s nominee. One Rubio supporter said,”I am still hoping that it doesn’t come to that.”

When pressed on whom they would vote for in a Trump-Clinton match up, most admitted they could not envision voting for Hillary Clinton under any circumstances. Many said that the conversion of Trump’s daughter Ivanka to Judaism and marriage to a Jew assuaged their fears that he was really a racist. Some even went so far as to defend Trump’s refusal to disavow the Klu Klux Klan and former Grand Wizard David Duke to CNN’s Jake Tapper. One former Bush supporter said, “Are you listening only to Rubio? He did disavow. Do your homework and don’t listen only to Rubio.”

There may be more hand wringing than usual but I  expect the RJC will endorse the GOP nominee, even it is Trump,  based on multiple interviews with RJC board members.

 

 

 

 

 

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