Former Maine governor suggests Democrats' money comes mostly from Jews

/ CBS/AP

House passes anti-hate resolution

Former Gov. Paul LePage suggested Monday that the Democratic Party's money comes mostly from Jewish people. The Republican told WGAN-AM radio that Jewish people should be "insulted" by a Democratic congresswoman's statements that some viewed as anti-Semitic.

"The Jewish people in America have been great supporters of the Democratic Party," LePage said. "In fact, that's where their money comes from for the most part. They should be absolutely insulted for what she's been saying."

LePage, who has previously grabbed headlines for remarks critics deem racist, said he felt "completely vindicated from anything" he has said in light of freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar, of Minnesota. She suggested Israel's supporters were pushing lawmakers to take a pledge of "allegiance" to a foreign country, reviving an anti-Semitic trope of dual loyalties. Her comments sparked debate amongst members of Congress, leading the House of Representatives to overwhelmingly pass a broad resolution condemning all bigotry in an effort to address remarks.

LePage said he is "skeptical" that Jewish voters would break away from Democrats.

"I think what they might do, the fundraising might get hurt a little bit," LePage said. "But I don't think they're going to desert the Democratic Party."

On Monday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders wouldn't confirm if the president felt the Democratic party hated Jews after he told reporters Democrats had become an "anti-Jewish party."

"I think that's a question you ought to ask the Democrats," Sanders told reporters.

She added, "The president's been an unwavering and committed ally to Israel and the Jewish people and frankly the remarks that have been made by a number of Democrats and failed to be called out by Democrat leadership is frankly abhorrent and it's sad and is something that should be called by name. It shouldn't be put in a watered-down resolution. It should be done the way the Republicans did it when Steve King made terrible comments. We called it out by name, we stripped him of his committee memberships and we'd like to see Democrats follow suit."

LePage in 2012 referred to the IRS as "the new Gestapo." LePage later said he didn't mean to offend the Jewish community or minimize the Holocaust.

LePage's representatives didn't respond to request for comment.

First published on March 12, 2019 / 7:59 AM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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