(JTA) — A week after former President Donald Trump dined with two men who are known for their outspoken antisemitism, Republican leaders are beginning to speak out — though some are sparing Trump direct criticism.
Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader in the Senate, said Trump’s Nov. 20 dinner with Kanye West, the rapper and designer who in recent weeks has come out as antisemitic, and Nick Fuentes, a white supremacist who has denied the Holocaust and said he wants all Jews out of the United States, was a blow to Trump’s bid to be reelected in 2024.
“First, let me just say that there is no room in the Republican Party for antisemitism or white supremacy,” McConnell said Tuesday when he met with a gaggle of reporters in the Senate. “And anyone meeting with people advocating that point of view, in my judgment, are highly unlikely to ever be elected president of the United States.”
Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, the likely next speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, did not directly criticize Trump, echoing a number of other Republicans who have spoken out.
Referring to Fuentes, McCarthy said, “I condemn his ideology; it has no place in society at all.”
About Trump, he said, “The president can have meetings with who he wants; I don’t think anybody, though, should have a meeting with Nick Fuentes.” McCarthy said Trump condemned Fuentes “four times.” Trump has not done so, although he has said multiple times that he did not know who Fuentes was and that he was an unexpected guest of West, who now goes by Ye.
Trump responded to the mounting criticism late Tuesday, saying again that he hadn’t known Fuentes, an organizer of rallies on his behalf, before the meeting, and for the first time indicating disapproval of his views.
“I had never heard of the man — I had no idea what his views were, and they weren’t expressed at the table in our very quick dinner, or it wouldn’t have been accepted,” Trump told Fox News.
The varying responses — McConnell outspoken and McCarthy evasive — reflected where each leader stands in the party. McConnell, who has tangled with Trump since the former president spread lies about winning the 2020 election that led to a deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, handily headed off a Trump-backed leadership challenge earlier this month, even as Republicans failed to recapture the Senate in midterm elections.
McCarthy, on the other hand, leads a caucus that wrested the House from Democrats but by a bare majority. If he wants to be elected speaker on Jan. 3, the first day of the new Congress, he needs the vote of a small but powerful faction of House Republicans who remain loyal to Trump.
Meanwhile, Mike Pence, Trump’s vice president, has called on Trump to apologize — an action Trump has always been loath to take.
“President Trump was wrong to give a white nationalist., an antisemite, and a Holocaust denier a seat at the table, and I think he should apologize for it,” Pence said Monday on NewsNation, a cable network.
Pence, unfailingly loyal to Trump during the presidency, has broken with the former president since refusing to heed Trump’s pleas to illegally rig the electoral vote count on Jan. 6. The vice president, in a ceremonial role, supervises the count. A number of the rioters who breached the Capitol said they hoped to kill Pence.
A number of GOP senators, confronted by reporters in the halls of Congress as they returned from Thanksgiving break, also spoke out. “I think it’s ridiculous that he had that meeting,” said Joni Ernst of Iowa. “Just it’s ridiculous. And that’s, that’s all I’m gonna say about it. Just crazy.”
A handful of Republicans, including several who have for years criticized Trump, spoke out as soon as the meeting with Fuentes was confirmed last Friday. A few others who were close to Trump, including David Friedman, his ambassador to Israel, also spoke out to denounce the meeting.
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Phyllis Pollock died at home Sunday September 3, 2023 in Winnipeg, after a courageous lifetime battle with cancer.
Phyllis was a mother of four: Gary (Laura), daughter Randi, Steven (deceased in 2010) (Karen), and Robert. Phyllis also had two grandchildren: Lauren and Quinn.
Born in Fort Frances, Ontario on February 7, 1939, Phyllis was an only child to Ruby and Alex Lerman. After graduating high school, Phyllis moved to Winnipeg where she married and later divorced Danny Pollock, the father of her children. She moved to Beverly Hills in 1971, where she raised her children.
Phyllis had a busy social life and lucrative real estate career that spanned over 50 years, including new home sales with CoastCo. Phyllis was the original sales agent for three buildings in Santa Monica, oceanfront: Sea Colony I, Sea Colony II, and Sea Colony. She was known as the Sea Colony Queen. She worked side by side with her daughter Randi for about 25 years – handling over 600 transactions, including sales and leases within the three phases of Sea Colony alone.
Phyllis had more energy than most people half her age. She loved entertaining, working in the real estate field, meeting new and interesting people everyday no matter where she went, and thrived on making new lifelong friends. Phyllis eventually moved to the Sea Colony in Santa Monica where she lived for many years before moving to Palm Desert, then Winnipeg.
After battling breast cancer four times in approximately 20 years, she developed metastatic Stage 4 lung cancer. Her long-time domestic partner of 27 years, Joseph Wilder, K.C., was the love of her life. They were never far apart. They traveled the world and went on many adventures during their relationship. During her treatment, Phyllis would say how much she missed work and seeing her clients. Joey demonstrated amazing strength, love, care, and compassion for Phyllis as her condition progressed. He was her rock and was by her side 24/7, making sure she had the best possible care. Joey’s son David was always there to support Phyllis and to make her smile. Joey’s other children, Sheri, Kenny, Joshua and wife Davina, were also a part of her life. His kids would Facetime Phyllis and include her during any of their important functions. Phyllis loved Joey’s children as if they were her own.
Thank you to all of her friends and family who were there to support her during these difficult times. Phyllis is now, finally, pain free and in a better place. She was loved dearly and will be greatly missed. Interment took place in Los Angeles.
Gwen Centre Creative Living Centre celebrates 35th anniversary
By BERNIE BELLAN Over 100 individuals gathered at the Gwen Secter Centre on Tuesday evening, July 18 – under the big top that serves as the venue for the summer series of outdoor concerts that is now in its third year at the centre.
The occasion was the celebration of the Gwen Secter Centre’s 35th anniversary. It was also an opportunity to honour the memory of Sophie Shinewald, who passed away at the age of 106 in 2019, but who, as recently as 2018, was still a regular attendee at the Gwen Secter Centre.
As Gwen Secter Executive Director Becky Chisick noted in her remarks to the audience, Sophie had been volunteering at the Gwen Secter Centre for years – answering the phone among other duties. Becky remarked that Sophie’s son, Ed Shinewald, had the phone number for the Gwen Secter Centre stored in his phone as “Mum’s work.”
Remarks were also delivered by Raquel Dancho, Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul, who was the only representative of any level of government in attendance. (How times have changed: I remember well the steadfast support the former Member of the Legislature for St. John’s, Gord Mackintosh, showed the Gwen Secter Centre when it was perilously close to being closed down. And, of course, for years, the area in which the Gwen Secter Centre is situated was represented by the late Saul Cherniack.)
Sophie Shinewald’s granddaughter, Alix (who flew in from Chicago), represented the Shinewald family at the event. (Her brother, Benjamin, who lives in Ottawa, wasn’t able to attend, but he sent a pre-recorded audio message that was played for the audience.)
Musical entertainment for the evening was provided by a group of talented singers, led by Julia Kroft. Following the concert, attendees headed inside to partake of a sumptuous assortment of pastries, all prepared by the Gwen Secter culinary staff. (And, despite my asking whether I could take a doggy bag home, I was turned down.)
Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station
This is a developing story.
(JTA) — Palestinian gunmen killed four people and wounded four in a terror attack at a gas station near the West Bank settlement of Eli, the Israeli army reported.
An Israeli civilian returning fire at the scene of the attack on Tuesday killed one of the attackers, who emerged from a vehicle, and two others fled.
Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, said one of those wounded was in serious condition. The gunmen, while in the vehicle, shot at a guard post at the entry to the settlement, and then continued to the gas station which is also the site of a snack bar. A nearby yeshiva went into lockdown.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced plans to convene a briefing with top security officials within hours of the attack. Kan reported that there were celebrations of the killing in major West Bank cities and in the Gaza Strip, initiated by terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Hamas said the shooting attack Tuesday was triggered by the Jenin raid.
The shooting comes as tensions intensify in the West Bank. A day earlier, Israeli troops raiding the city of Jenin to arrest accused terrorists killed five people.
The Biden administration spoke out over the weekend against Israel’s plans to build 4,000 new housing units for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also finalized plans to transfer West Bank building decisions to Bezalel Smotrich, the extremist who is the finance minister. Smotrich has said he wants to limit Palestinian building and expand settlement building.
Kan reported that the dead terrorist was a resident of a village, Urif, close to Huwara, the Palestinian town where terrorists killed two Israeli brothers driving through in February. Settlers retaliated by raiding the village and burning cars and buildings.
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