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U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez condemned Trenton City Council President Kathy McBride’s use of an anti-Semitic slur during a recent executive session.
“The use of that term is offensive. It is anti-Semitic and it has no place in the public sphere, much less by a public official,” Menendez said at an unrelated press conference Monday. “These are the tropes that get used against the Jewish community that create the incipiency of anti-Semitic remarks. They just have no place, and I don’t expect any public official to make such a type of comment.”
McBride used the term “Jew her down” while discussing the settlement of a lawsuit during a Sept. 5 executive session, according to a recording obtained by the New Jersey Globe.
“I’m sad for her that they were able to wait her out and Jew her down for $22,000 worth of pins in her knee that can never, ever be repaired,” she said. “I am so sad for her as a Trenton resident.”
So far, McBride has declined to comment on her statement, repeatedly citing the cone of silence around executive sessions.
Two of McBride’s fellows, Council members George Muschal and Robin Vaughn, who were present during the closed-door session, defended the council president’s statements.
Muschal said the term “Jew them down” was “just a statement of speech.”
Vaughn said the term was a verb and dismissed the idea that Muschal’s statement was inappropriate.
Councilman Jerrell Blakely condemned the comments, calling for McBride’s censure and resignation. He also called for Muschal to resign after the councilman defended the council president’s use of the anti-Semitic trope.
Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman and Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora have condemned her comments but stopped short of calling for her to give up her seat.
Menendez too stopped short of calling for McBride’s resignation, saying he was not familiar enough with McBride’s statements to determine whether she should remain in office.
“I don’t know all the facts of it,” Menendez said. “I haven’t been reading on it. I have to see the totality of it.”