Republican candidate in Virginia's 3rd Congressional District Dean Longo is asking U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-California, to apologize for comments she made Friday that Jewish Republicans were being "exploited" by the party.
Former Speaker of the House Pelosi said in an interview with Bloomberg News that Jewish Republican voters were being "exploited" by the GOP, which is using Israel as an excuse for "tax cuts for the wealthy."
Challenging U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott, Longo, who is a Newport News businessman, Republican and Jewish, said in a press release Tuesday that Pelosi's comments were "racist and anti-Semitic."
"The Democratic establishment, led by the former speaker, has made it clear that it sees the American people as multi-colored poker chips instead of people with their own decision-making abilities," Longo said. "They have illustrated it in our district every two years for the past two decades, and they are doing it again with their assumption that if a Jew votes Republican, they must be being manipulated and exploited. I call on Rep. Pelosi to rescind and apologize for her racist and anti-Semitic comments and challenge Rep. Scott to speak out against the blatant racism coming from the former speaker’s office."
Following is Longo's full press release statement:
"Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s comments during an interview with “Political Capital with Al Hunt” are astonishing, misinformed, and further proof that the Democratic Party establishment sees race and heritage in purely political terms, with no regard for the ability of the individual to make his or her own decision. As a Jew, I align myself with the Republican Party for a number of reasons, many of which being deeply rooted in my Jewish upbringing, especially my beliefs and values. Comments like those from Pelosi attacking my intelligence and motivations reveal her true character and attitude toward Jews.
"First, as a Jew, and an American Jew, I understand the importance of Israel to the United States. Israel is the lone true democracy in a very unstable region, and Israel has been the only continual ally of the United States in the Middle East. Therefore, I believe we must strongly and unequivocally stand by Israel and its right to defend herself. We bring peace to the Middle East by eliminating any motivation for terrorist and countries to attack Israel. Every history lesson learned reveals we do that through strength, not appeasement and weakness. From a practical standpoint, Israel is our measuring tape. If we can’t stand behind such a strong ally, what message does that send to our other allies? No matter what Rep. Pelosi may think, the Republican policy of supporting Israel is not a political move, but the morally and strategically correct one.
"Nancy Pelosi’s assertion that I as a Jew am simply being exploited, so Republicans can gain tax cuts for the rich, smacks of anti-Semitism. I am glad she felt the need to reassure the public she believes we are smart. However, we are just not smart enough to avoid being exploited. In the end, Pelosi’s remarks are those of ignorance and political power-playing that reinforces my belief that she is not truly concerned with Jews, or Israel, but more interested in manipulating the American People by way of race and heritage in an attempt to increase her and her party’s power.
"I am a Republican because I believe the basic Republican philosophies line up with my faith and experiences. Republicans believe as a country we need to look to God as our moral compass; we need to maintain a strong national defense, we need to ensure equal opportunity for all, and we need to enable people to be self-reliant. Those of Jewish heritage and religion have been taught to learn the lessons of history. Jews understand what happens when the government fails to protect the civil rights of the people. Jews understand that you need to rely on God, your own abilities, your family, and your community to succeed. Finally, Jews understand the impact of violence on the community, families, and people. I believe we must ensure everyone has equal opportunities and I believe we must empower people to succeed based on their own abilities.
"The Democratic establishment, led by the former speaker, has made it clear that it sees the American people as multi-colored poker chips instead of people with their own decision-making abilities. They have illustrated it in our district every two years for the past two decades, and they are doing it again with their assumption that if a Jew votes Republican, they must be being manipulated and exploited. I call on Rep. Pelosi to rescind and apologize for her racist and anti-Semitic comments and challenge Rep. Scott to speak out against the blatant racism coming from the former speaker’s office."