WASHINGTON — Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., sparked bipartisan backlash Tuesday with a tweet about Zionism that the White House called “virulent Antisemitism.”
Massie’s post featured a popular meme format and appeared to imply that Congress was not interested in “American patriotism” but was interested in “Zionism.”
In response to a request for comment, a spokesperson for Massie dismissed the White House criticism while making an unproven claim about President Joe Biden’s mental health.
The office of Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., said in a statement that Biden’s efforts “would be better spent condemning the 100+ Democrats who refused to support a resolution condemning anti-Semitism today on the House floor.”
Jewish Democratic Reps. Dan Goldman and Jerry Nadler of New York, as well as Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., had called on their colleagues to vote present on the resolution, which they said was “the latest unserious attempt by Republicans to weaponize Jewish pain and the serious problem of antisemitism to score cheap political points.”
The Republican-authored resolution passed in a 311-14 vote with overwhelming GOP support, while 92 Democrats voted present, 13 voted no, and 13 did not vote.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., also blasted Massie, calling on him to take down his post.
“Rep. Massie, you’re a sitting Member of Congress,” Schumer said on X. “This is antisemitic, disgusting, dangerous, and exactly the type of thing I was talking about in my Senate address.”
Massie reposted Schumer’s criticism Tuesday and tweeted, “If only you cared half as much about our border as you do my tweets.”
Schumer last month delivered a 45-minute speech on the Senate floor in which he warned of the consequences if Americans do not condemn antisemitism.
The White House is calling on Congress to pass legislation that includes billions in aid for Ukraine and Israel. Republicans insist that any aid package include provisions to address security at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Massie also drew criticism from Matt Brooks, the CEO of the Republican Jewish Coalition, who called the post antisemitic, “plain and simple.”
“Shame on you @RepThomasMassie,” Brooks said on X. “You’re a disgrace to the US Congress and to the Republican Party.”
Zionism is often characterized as “the movement for the self-determination and statehood for the Jewish people in their ancestral homeland, the land of Israel,” according to the Anti-Defamation League, an organization that works to combat antisemitism.
Massie’s post had garnered 19,000 likes and had been viewed about 2.6 million times by early Tuesday evening.