Donald Trump Addresses the Republican Jewish Coalition

— by Richard Chaitt and Scott Schley

Real estate mogul Donald Trump was among the thirteen Republican candidates speaking at the RJC Presidential Presidential Forum.

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

He was introduced as “a mensch with chutzpah.” Trump mentioned that his daughter and grandchildren are Jewish joking that the RJC only likes him because his daughter was Jewish and that made him mishpacha. He said having a Jewish daughter was great, except he can’t get her on the phone on Saturday.

While he asked for the Republican Jewish Council’s support, he did not ask for money as he is self-funding his campaign. The audience found Trump and the many jokes he told very humorous, but he did not say much of substance.

Trump said “Obama was the worst thing ever for Israel. Our negotiations with Iran was horrible and we did not bargain from strength.” He criticized Obama for being unwilling to use the term ‘radical Islam’. He argued that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should not be allowed to run, claiming that what she did with her emails was criminal.

Donald Trump has been a strong supporter of Israel. He told the story of how he was asked by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin “Bibi” Netanyahu to do an election commercial for him. He said the commercial must have worked, since Bibi won. Trump called himself a great deal maker and thinks he can make a deal for peace. He would not commit to having a unified Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This caused “boos” from the audience. However, Trump countered that “To do a deal, you do not reveal your cards up front.”

In conclusion, Trump was very charismatic, sharp and funny, but there was no there there. He only spoke in generalities without being specific.

Speeches by the other Republican presidential candidates is available in our full coverage of the RJC presidential forum.

Lindsey Graham Addresses the Republican Jewish Coalition

— by Richard Chaitt and Scott Schley

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham was among the 13 Republican candidates speaking at the RJC Presidential Presidential Forum.

Senator Lindsay Graham

Senator Lindsay Graham

Senator Lindsey Graham

Senator Graham’s presentation was “folksy”. He took off against unserious candidates; zeroing in on those who never held office. Objected to what Cruz said. Graham believes that by emphasizing a nationalist, pro-life agenda Republicans are alienating Hispanic and young women voter; the party needs to be more inclusive if they are to prevail in the general election. If the Republican candidate takes the position that a woman who is raped or is a victim of incest can’t get an abortion or that all illegal immigrants must be deported, the Republicans will lose.

Graham was strong on foreign policy and against Iran. He promised to stop the Iranian nuclear program. He would defund the UN unless they stop taking discriminatory positions against Israel. He also said the Palestinians should lose US funding unless they get serious about peace.

Speeches by the other Republican presidential candidates is available in our full coverage of the RJC presidential forum.

Thirteen Candidates at Republican Jewish Coalition Presidential Forum

ajcPollThe Republican Jewish Coalition Presidential Forum was held on December 3, 2015 in Washington DC. Attended by over 700 members of the RJC from all over the country. Of the 14 Republican presidential candidates, 13 attended (Senator Rand Paul backed out due to Senate business). Each candidate had 30 minutes for a prepared speech and questions. A fundamental concern of the RJC is Israel. So it was not surprising that most of the comments related to foreign policy and the relationship between the United States and Israel.

Click on the links below for video of each speaker along with a brief review of their comments.

Florida Governor Jeb Bush
Johns Hopkins Neurosurgeon Ben Carson
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
Texas Senator Ted Cruz
Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina
Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham
Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee
Ohio Governor John Kasich
New York Governor George Pataki
Florida Senator Marco Rubio
Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum
Real estate mogul Donald Trump

According to Steve Sheffey despite their efforts at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s forum, the Republican presidential candidates continue to turn off Jewish voters:

All of the GOP candidates hold views that most Jewish voters strongly disagree with. The day after the mass shooting in California, the Republican presidential candidates were utterly unapologetic about their opposition to new gun control laws.

On Thursday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) voted against an amendment that would have prevented people on the terrorism watch list from purchasing firearms. So did the other Republican senators running for president. We need to place the sanctity of life above the sanctity of misguided interpretations of the Second Amendment.

Photos courtesy of Richard Chaitt. Video courtesy of CSPAN.

Ted Cruz Addresses the Republican Jewish Coalition

— by Richard Chaitt and Scott Schley

Texas Senator Ted Cruz was among the 13 Republican candidates speaking at the RJC Presidential Presidential Forum.

Senator Ted Cruz

Senator Ted Cruz

Senator Ted Cruz mentioned his bi-partisan outreach to Democrats in foreign affairs. We urges us to speak the truth about Radical Islam, since “the truth has power.” To borrow a page from Ronald Reagan’s strategy in the cold war, he says “our strategy should be very simply: we win, they lose.” He emphasized we are at war with Islamic Terror and the United States has to stand with Israel. Accordingly, Cruz wants to move the US embassy to Jerusalem and take steps to combat the boycott Israel (BDS) movement.

Cruz made it clear that the United States must go after terrorists. He also wants to rip up the Iran nuclear deal and force an end to the Iranian nuclear program.

During the question and answer period, Cruz was asked about abortion. He replied that to win the Republicans must run as fiscal, foreign policy and social conservatives and that if Republicans nominate a moderate, the coalition necessary to win won’t exist.

Speeches by the other Republican presidential candidates is available in our full coverage of the RJC presidential forum.