There is almost no way any longer to measure the depths of how low Donald Trump can take his assorted presidential pronouncements.
The president’s recent tirade against two members of Congress — both of them outspoken Democrats who happen to be Muslim — simply lowers the bar to a level I cannot define.
Trump urged Israeli government officials to deny entry into Israel of Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar. They are members of Congress, duly elected to represent their districts. They intended to go Israel on “factfinding” missions. Trump said they “hate” Israel and “hate all Jews,” which of course might qualify as the mother of ad hominem attacks.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to his utter disgrace, approved blocking their entry into Israel. The Israelis then relented on Tlaib, allowing her into the West Bank to visit her grandmother; Tlaib, though, canceled her visit because of the pall this disgraceful conduct has cast on her visit.
For the president of the United States to interfere with two federal lawmakers doing their jobs is reprehensible in the extreme. Moreover, for a foreign head of government to kowtow to this presidential idiocy is a sign of amazing weakness from a man, and a government, that purport to stand for strength in the face of hostility.
I have had a bit of exposure to Israel. I toured the country for a month in 2009 and was told time and again the same thing about that marvelous place: It is a secular state governed by the laws of humanity; and it welcomes all points of view, all forms of peaceful dissent.
Netanyahu tossed all of that aside by adhering initially to the president’s ridiculous admonition. They both should be ashamed of themselves.
I cannot speak for Netanyahu, but I am pretty sure the shameless U.S. president will feel not one bit of regret over seeking to bar two American citizens their right to travel abroad on behalf of their congressional constituents.