In an interview with Spectrum News on Thursday, former President Donald Trump accused President Joe Biden of abandoning Israel after the incumbent said he would not supply the country with weapons it could use to invade Rafah.

What You Need To Know

  • Former President Donald Trump accused President Joe Biden of abandoning Israel during an interview with Spectrum News on Thursday; watch the full interview in the player above

  • In an interview with CNN on Wednesday, Biden said he would not supply the country with weapons it could use to invade Rafah, a city in southern Gaza where more than 1 million Palestinians are sheltering; Israel has said that Rafah is Hamas' last stronghold in Gaza

  • Trump then attacked Jewish people for typically supporting Democrats, saying: "If you're Jewish and you vote for [Biden], I say shame on you"

  • When it comes to Israel's potential invasion of Rafah, Trump said that they "have to get the job done," citing the atrocities of Hamas' Oct. 7 attack

“Civilians have been killed in Gaza as a consequence of those bombs and other ways in which they go after population centers,” Biden told CNN anchor Erin Burnett in an interview in Wisconsin on Wednesday, adding: “I made it clear that if they go into Rafah … I’m not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities – that deal with that problem.”

When asked by Spectrum News North Carolina political anchor Tim Boyum about Biden’s comments and if he would have a red line in Israel’s war with Hamas, Trump replied: “Well, I wouldn't do what Biden did. He just abandoned Israel. I've never seen anything like it.”

Trump then criticized why Jewish people — who typically overwhelmingly back Democrats — vote the way they do. A Pew Research Center survey from last month showed that 69% of Jewish voters align with the Democratic Party, while 29% back Republicans. Since 2020, Jewish voter share among Democrats increased 8%.

“Why Jewish people vote for Democrats is beyond me,” Trump said. “I think maybe they'll change their mind, but they've been wedded to Democrats for you know, for 50 years, probably more than that. And there’s been no president has ever done anything close to what I've done for Israel.”

As president, Trump in 2020 oversaw bilateral agreements between Israel and Arab nations known as the Abraham Accords, which normalized relations between the Jewish state, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. That year, he also announced an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan alongside Netanyahu that was criticized by Palestinian leaders and the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. Biden at the time called it a “political stunt” that could “set back peace even more.” In 2017, Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and oversaw the opening of a U.S. embassy in the holy city, a move that enraged Palestinians.

But Biden has been steadfast in his support for Israel, particularly in the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel that killed 1,200 — the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust — and sparked the war in Gaza. Biden just last month signed into law a foreign aid bill providing billions in aid for Israel in its war against Hamas, as well as humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza.

Trump on Thursday charged that Biden has “totally gone on the other side” and “dropped Israel.”

“If you're Jewish and you vote for him, I say shame on you,” Trump added. He doubled down on those comments ahead of his hush money trial beginning Thursday morning after the interview.

President Biden's reelection campaign later Thursday condemned Trump's comments in his interview with Spectrum News.

"As president, Donald Trump said Neo-Nazi marchers were ‘very fine people.’ Now, like a cuckoo clock of hate, he is popping up every month with the same patronizing antisemitic shtick and reminding Jewish voters that he has no respect for us," said campaign spokesperson Charles Lutvak. "Like Trump himself lately, his monthly attack on American Jews is getting tired. Voters are ready to put it to bed and they will — by reelecting a president in Joe Biden who cares about people and fights for them instead of one who denigrates them and only cares about himself."

It’s not the first time Trump has used such rhetoric to condemn Jewish voters who pick Democrats. On Rosh Hashanah last year — one of the holiest days on the Jewish calendar — Trump shared a post on his Truth Social platform accusing those who did not support him in 2020 of voting “to destroy America and Israel.”

“Just a quick reminder for liberal Jews who voted to destroy America & Israel because you believed false narratives!” the image read. “Let’s hope you learned from your mistake & make better choices moving forward! Happy New Year!”

In March of this year, Trump said in an interview that Jewish people who vote for Democrats “hate Israel" and hate “their religion,” and last month said that “any Jewish person who votes for a Democrat or votes for Biden should have their head examined.” His remarks were condemned by the White House, Biden’s reelection campaign and other advocates.

Biden, who has deep ties to the Jewish community dating back to his time representing Delaware in the Senate, visited Israel's Holocaust museum, Yad Vashem, in 2022, where he met with survivors and took part in a wreath laying ceremony. He has also condemned some of the protests at college campuses across the country and just this week offered a forceful condemnation of a rise in antisemitism at a Holocaust remembrance ceremony.

Trump has accused Biden of being weak on antisemitism, though just last week said that the Democratic president is running a “Gestapo administration,” his latest reference to Nazi Germany.

When it comes to Israel's potential invasion of Rafah, a city in southern Gaza where more than 1 million civilians are sheltering, Trump said that they "have to get the job done," citing the atrocities of Hamas' Oct. 7 attack.

"They've done things that nobody thought – nobody's ever seen anything like it," Trump added.

Israel has said that Rafah is Hamas' last stronghold in Gaza, but several countries, including the U.S., have expressed alarm about the prospect of a full-scale ground invasion.

Trump condemns college protesters while largely brushing Jan. 6 under the rug

Trump was asked how he reckons his condemnation of the college protests against the Israel-Hamas war with his support for individuals who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, to try and disrupt the certification of his loss to Biden in the 2020 election. 

The ex-president -- who has frequently said he would pardon some, if not all, of those rioters, has called them "unbelievable patriots" and has even taken to playing a recording of jailed Jan. 6 defendants singing the National Anthem at his rallies -- contended that "we don't have a problem from the right we have a problem from the left," blasting what he called the "far left" as "fascist," "communist" and "a danger to our country." 

"We don't have that problem with the right," Trump said, before baselessly contending that rioters who stormed the building "were largely invited in."

Trump went on to bash the House Select Committee that investigated the Jan. 6 attack, repeating a false claim that the bipartisan panel deleted or destroyed evidence, and said that the so-called "radical left" is "more dangerous to our country than China and Russia and others."

More than 1,300 people have been charged in connection with the attack, with 950 convictions so far. While some low-level offenders were granted probations, hundreds have been jailed, some for sentences as long as 22 years behind bars.

Trump repeats attacks on New York hush money trial

Trump, who spoke to Spectrum News from New York ahead of his hush money trial, continued to rail against the prosecution against him, calling it an "absolute sham."

"It's an absolute sham," Trump said, before calling Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg "corrupt" and attacking him for being backed by Democratic megadonor George Soros, a frequent right-wing target. (In truth, Soros donated to a group that seeks to elect progressive prosecutors, which backed Bragg's 2021 campaign. A spokesperson for Soros told The New York Times that they've never met and he has never directly donated to Bragg.)

"It's a Democrat witch hunt," Trump said after listing a group of legal scholars sympathetic to his plight. "This is a disgrace that this case should even be brought forward. There was no crime. There's no there should be no charge. There's no crime whatsoever."

Trump faces 34 felony counts in the case, which accuses him of falsifying business records related to hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels to cover up an alleged sexual affair. Trump has pleaded not guilty and denied the affair, as well as any wrongdoing.

The ex-president blamed the case for not allowing him the freedom to campaign in key swing states -- as a criminal defendant, Trump must be present for trial days under New York law -- though despite his complaints, he has not taken advantage of off days in the trial to campaign. Aside from a planned rally in North Carolina that was canceled due to inclement weather (he told Spectrum News on Thursday that he'll be "going back" to the Tar Heel State), Trump spent just one day on the campaign trail, hitting battleground states Wisconsin and Michigan in a one-day swing earlier this month. He has two other rallies scheduled for the coming weeks -- one in Ohio and one in New Jersey. 

"I think that it's a shame that it's being done, that these people are corrupt," Trump said of the trial. "We have a very conflicted judge, a corrupted, conflicted judge on the case. So we have some bad things going ,the good thing is that didn't do anything wrong, that's the positive.