Schumer blasts House Republican for ‘antisemitic’ meme accusing Congress of snubbing ‘American patriotism’

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., accused a House Republican of sharing an “antisemitic” meme that suggested Congress has been snubbing “American patriotism.” 

Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., posted a meme on X that depicts the rapper Drake representing “Congress these days” by gesturing away from the words “American patriotism” and then smiling next to the word, “Zionism,” implying that American lawmakers as a whole prefer the latter over the former.

“Rep. Massie, you’re a sitting Member of Congress. This is antisemitic, disgusting, dangerous, and exactly the type of thing I was talking about in my Senate address. Take this down,” Schumer, the highest-ranking Jewish elected official in American history, wrote in response to Massie’s post. 

Massie, who serves on the House Judiciary, Rules, and Transportation and Infrastructure committees, shot back: “If only you cared half as much about our border as you do my tweets.” 

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., answers questions outside the Senate chamber at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

White House Deputy Communications Director Herbie Ziskend echoed Schumer’s criticism of Massie’s meme. 

“All Americans – including @HouseGOP leadership – should condemn this virulent Antisemitism from a sitting member of Congress,” Ziskend wrote on X. 

The office of House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., said President Biden’s efforts “would be better spent condemning the 100+ Democrats who refused to support a resolution condemning antisemitism today on the House floor,” according to NBC News. 

Matt Brooks, CEO of the Republican Jewish Coalition, took Massie to task for the meme.

“Let me be crystal clear on this. This post is antisemetic (sic). Plain and simple. Shame on you @RepThomasMassie. You’re a disgrace to the US Congress and to the Republican Party,” Brooks wrote on X.

On Wednesday, a House resolution “strongly condemning and denouncing the drastic rise of antisemitism in the United States and around the world” passed in a 311-14 vote with overwhelming Republican support, while 92 Democrats voted present, 13 voted no and 13 did not vote. 

Massie talks to reporters on Capitol Hill

Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., posted a meme suggesting Congress “these days” has been prioritizing “Zionism” over “American patriotism.” (Anna Rose Layden/Getty Images)

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Jewish Democrat Reps. Dan Goldman and Jerry Nadler of New York, as well as Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., encouraged colleagues to vote present, deeming the Republican-written resolution as “the latest unserious attempt by Republicans to weaponize Jewish pain and the serious problem of antisemitism to score cheap political points.”

Last week, Schumer gave an impassioned speech on the Senate floor addressing the rise in antisemitism in the United States, calling out those on his own side of the political spectrum whose demonstrations attempted to justify Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre that left 1,200 people dead at a music festival and kibbutz communities in southern Israel and roughly 240 others taken as hostages in to the Gaza Strip.

“Many of the people who have expressed these sentiments in America aren’t neo-Nazis or card-carrying Klan members or Islamist extremists. They are in many cases people that most liberal Jewish Americans felt previously were their ideological fellow travelers,” Schumer said. “Not long ago, many of us marched together for Black and Brown lives, we stood against anti-Asian hatred, we protested bigotry against the LGBTQ community, we fought for reproductive justice out of the recognition that injustice against one oppressed group is injustice against all. But apparently, in the eyes of some, that principle does not extend to the Jewish people.” 

Schumer holds press conference

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., accused Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., of sharing an “antisemitic, disgusting, dangerous” meme online. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Schumer also said that the speech, “is not an attempt to label most criticism of Israel and the Israeli government generally as antisemitic. I don’t believe that criticism is. And this speech is also not an attempt to pit hate towards one group against that of another.” 

The Senate majority leader has warned against placing conditions on U.S. aid to Israel, saying that conditions could potentially reduce the ability to deter Hamas’ threat, free hostages, deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza and urge Israel to minimize civilian deaths.

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Top Republicans have already rejected attaching specific conditions for the aid package to Israel, as the U.S. does with aid to other allies. 

Schumer said any final package would need to be bipartisan.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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