On the last day of the conference in Washington D.C. the president of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) apologized for comments made a day earlier by Donald Trump.
Politico reports on the statement delivered by AIPAC president Lillian Pinkus:
“We say unequivocally that we do not countenance ad hominem attacks, and we take great offense to those that are levied against the United States of America from our stage,” Pinkus said. “While we may have policy differences, we deeply respect the office of the president of the United States and our president, Barack Obama.”
She also castigated attendees who responded positively to Trump’s comments.
“There are people in our AIPAC family who were deeply hurt last night, and for that, we are deeply sorry,” Pinkus said. “We are disappointed that so many people applauded a sentiment that we neither agree with or condone.”
As I noted yesterday, Trump’s speech Monday was relatively mild by his standards. He did make a few remarks about President Obama including saying that Obama, “may be the worst thing that ever happened to Israel.” However, one of the moments in which he referenced Obama and which seemed to bring some of his strongest applause was this one:
— CBSN (@CBSNLive) March 21, 2016
Other candidates took shots at one another yesterday. Hillary Clinton attacked Trump. Cruz attacked Trump and Hillary. So what exactly is the principle here? Is it okay to take shots at other candidates but not the current president?
AIPAC is officially a non-partisan organization. Clearly, however, many Jewish Americans lean left. That’s why, in 2012, Obama got nearly 70% of the Jewish vote. That means that whatever disappointment some at AIPAC may feel with him, Obama is still the person many in the audience helped elect. No doubt those Democratic voters were the people “deeply hurt” by Trump’s comments.
For Trump this seems like a win-win. He faced a large crowd of skeptics and delivered a relatively restrained speech which garnered some positive reaction in the moment. That, and the teleprompter, may have concerned some of his supporters who prefer the outlaw Trump who riles everyone up wherever he goes. Now, thanks to the after the fact rebuke by organizers, Trump gets credit for toning it down and for going too far. There is something there for everyone.