At a recent board meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition, the big donors and high-powered operatives in the room went around the table to make sure they had someone supporting each potential Republican nominee.
Jeb Bush backers were easy to find. Supporters of Marco Rubio, too, were plentiful. Ted Cruz had friends there, as did Scott Walker, and even George Pataki and Lindsey Graham. The Republican Jewish elite have spread themselves wide across the GOP firmament.
Obviously it’s a good strategy to cultivate all the possibilities, just as the Israel Lobby has traditionally cultivated both sides of the aisle.
Yet Donald Trump, who has topped 20% to lead all other Republicans in recent presidential primary polls, and who also leads the pack in both Iowa and New Hampshire, is a different story. An RJC member who was present at the board meeting said he could not recall if Trump had backers there. What is clear is that, despite his surge in the polls, the anti-immigration hard-liner has strikingly little support among prominent Republican Jewish donors, activists and consultants.
Many Republican Jewish leaders remain unwilling to speak about Trump. …
Jewish Republicans’ critiques of Trump, when they can be convinced to air them, fall into two categories. Most echo the concerns of the Republican establishment, deriding the real estate developer and former reality show star who is advocating selective tax increases on the wealthy as unserious. They worry that he will drive away nontraditional Republican voters. Others, however, have deeper concerns.
Right. A tax on hedge fund profits, as Trump proposes, would be a serious blow to the RJC.
“There are a lot of folks who are, to be charitable, into white identity politics, and to be uncharitable are outright racists, who are supporting Trump,” said Nathan Wurtzel, a Republican political consultant and principal at The Catalyst Group, who is Jewish. “It’s very off-putting and disturbing.”