Eric Trump, the president’s middle son and a top Trump Organization official, was accused of anti-Semitism on Wednesday after saying that the veteran Washington journalist Bob Woodward wrote his book about chaos in the current White House for “three extra shekels.”
“But don’t you think,” Trump said on Fox News, “people look through the fact that you can write a sensational nonsense book, CNN will definitely have you on there because they love to trash the president, and it will mean that you sell three extra books and you make three extra shekels, at the behest of the American people, of our country and our president that is doing a phenomenal job by every quantifiable metric — is that really where we are? I think people read through this.”
A number of writers and journalists on social media questioned why Trump would mention “shekels,” seemingly oblivious to the anti-Semitic connotation coming amid the High Holy Days.
“Eric Trump said this morning that Bob Woodward made ‘three extra shekels at the behest of the American people’ with his book,” Bill Kristol, editor-at-large of the Weekly Standard and a noted critic of President Donald Trump, wrote on Twitter. “Is Eric too stupid to know he’s being anti-Semitic?”
Jonathan Weisman, The New York Times’ deputy Washington editor and author of “(((Semitism))): Being Jewish in the Age of Trump,” added that the comment was “outrageous.”
“If you want to see how the neo-Nazis use the term ‘shekels’ take a quick glance at The Daily Stormer,’ Weisman tweeted of the well-known neo-Nazi and white supremacist website. “Eric Trump’s ‘three extra shekels’ attack on Bob Woodward is not some accident any more than Hillary Clinton’s image over a Star of David.”
The Trump Organization, where Eric Trump is executive vice president, did not respond to a request for comment on his behalf.
Eric Trump’s scorching criticism of Woodward’s book, “Fear: Trump in the White House,” which is currently first on Amazon’s bestseller list, is the latest pushback the president’s family and allies have employed. According to excerpts from the book, Woodward’s reporting paints an image of a mercurial president whose staff struggles to mollify his worst impulses.
“The Woodward book is a scam,” the president wrote on Twitter on September 7. He has since labeled it “a work of fiction.”