Trump hails himself as the ‘Chosen One’
Donald Trump has raised eyebrows after proclaiming himself "the Chosen One" as he defended his trade war against China, indicating that it was his destiny to take on Beijing.
Mr Trump - who had earlier approvingly retweeted a description of himself as the King of Israel - said his predecessors had allowed the United States to be taken advantage of on trade and intellectual property and it had befallen him to undo the damage.
"This isn't my trade war. This is a trade war that should have taken place a long time ago by a lot of other presidents," he told reporters.
"Somebody had to do it," Mr Trump said, before looking up to the heavens and adding: "I am the Chosen One."
Mr Trump has slapped steep tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods, with a further $300 billion in imports targeted for new duties in two more rounds, September 1 and December 15.
Despite warnings from the IMF that his trade war is slowing global growth and growing signs that the US may be headed for recession, Mr Trump has shown little sign of easing off against China although trade talks are due to resume next month.
"Somebody had to do it, so I'm taking on China. I'm taking on China on trade, and you know what? We're winning," he said.
The President said he was "put here by people to do a great job. And that's what I'm doing."
TRUMP ACCUSED OF ANTI-SEMITISM
Mr Trump has been accused of anti-Semitism after saying Jewish Americans who vote for the Democrats show "either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty".
Speaking to reporters in the same press conference, the US President said: "I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty."
He later denied the comments were racist, telling reporters: "If you vote for a Democrat, you're being disloyal to Jewish people and you're being very disloyal to Israel."
The remark has been denounced by several Jewish groups, saying it played on historic accusations that Jews were more devoted to Israel or their faith than the countries they resided in.
The Jewish Democratic Council of America hit back saying the President was trying to "weaponise and politicise anti-Semitism" for political gain.
Trump repeating anti-Semitic tropes, emboldening hate groups, & using anti-Semitism for political purposes make us less secure. Today’s remarks are another example of him weaponizing & politicizing anti-Semitism for perceived political gain. It won’t work. https://t.co/p9tCnMHJdu— ✡ Jewish Dems 🌊 (@USJewishDems) August 20, 2019
"If this is about Israel, then Trump is repeating a dual loyalty claim, which is a form of anti-Semitism," Halie Soifer, the Council's executive director, said in a statement.
.@realDonaldTrump verified that he invoked an anti-Semitic trope, asserting that American Jews should be "loyal" to Israel by supporting him. 90% of American Jews consider themselves "pro-Israel" and about 3/4 of them are Dems because Jews vote their values. #LoyalToJewishValues https://t.co/X3C7MgsofB— Halie Soifer (@HalieSoifer) August 21, 2019
Jonathan Greenblatt, the head of the Anti-Defamation League, said "charges of disloyalty have long been used to attack Jews", while the American Jewish Committee described the remark as "inappropriate, unwelcome and downright dangerous".
The Republican Jewish Committee stood by Mr Trump, issuing a statement backing up his words.
"It shows a great deal of disloyalty to oneself to defend a party that protects/emboldens people that hate you for your religion," it said.