Sarah Sanders held the first White House briefing in 42 days, but most of the time was taken up by Acting Budget Director Russell Vought. The press secretary’s portion of the briefing lasted just 15 minutes. Many of the questions centered on this report from AXIOS: Referring to the recent anti-Semitism controversies with Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, Trump told the donors: “The Democrats hate Jewish people.” The remark was reportedly made at Mar-a-Lago where RNC donors were required to put their phones in magnetized pouches. But Axios said three different sources confirmed the claim.
Sanders was asked repeatedly if the President really believes this and she continuously dodged the comment, never denying he actually made the statement. At one point she tried to divert by saying, “I think that’s a question you oughta ask the Democrats.”
.@HallieJackson: You didn't answer the question earlier. Yes or no — does the president believe Democrats hate Jews?
SANDERS: "Ah, I'm not gonna comment."
JACKSON: You aren't answering the question.
SANDERS: "I believe I answered it twice."
(She never answered it.) pic.twitter.com/jDX4Cvfj9H
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 11, 2019
Meanwhile, it’s not hard to fact-check whether there is any basis for the claim that “Democrats hate Jewish people.” The Washington Post reports:
Thirty-two of the 34 Jewish members of Congress are Democrats. According to the Pew Research Center, more than 70 percent of Jewish Americans voted for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. Though Trump has proffered several pro-Israel positions while in office, the vast majority of American Jewish voters do not support him. An October 2018 poll found that 74 percent of Jews planned to vote for Democratic candidates in the midterm elections.
Watch the full briefing above.