Click play for audio version of this story
Trenton City Councilwoman Robin Vaughn is defending a colleague’s “Jew her down” comment, calling “Jew down” a verb and suggesting that the term isn’t “anti-anything.”
“We really need to get a more acute meaning and understanding of ‘anti-Semitic.’ I believe her comment ‘Jew down’ was more in reference to negotiating, not ‘I hate Jews,’” Vaughn said. “Inappropriate in today’s PC culture absolutely, but to Jew someone down is a verb and is not anti-anything or indicative of hating Jewish people.”
Vaughn said she didn’t recall Council President Kathy McBride saying during a closed-door discussion of the settlement of a lawsuit filed by resident Vivian Soto that Assistant City Attorney Peter Cohen “able to wait her out and Jew her down” to settle the case at a lower amount during an executive session of the City Council on September 5.
But Vaughn appears to contradict her own statement, saying that McBride was not talking about a specific person but rather discussing the “settlement of a low-dollar amount.”
Robert Yudin, a former executive director of the New Jersey-Israel Commission, said he found Vaughn’s response even more offensive than the one made by McBride.
“It’s as vile and vicious an anti-Semitic statement as someone could make,” Yudin said. “It’s clearly an anti-Semitic trope and it can’t be explained.”
Yudin, a former Bergen County Republican Chairman, said that he’s worried “it’s America in the 1930s again,” and blames President Donald Trump for what he views as a rise in anti-Semiticism in the country.
“When you have a president who says there are good people and bad people on both sides, it’s scary,” said Yudin, referencing Trump’s defense of white supremacists.
In the same Facebook post, Vaughn said that at a community forum where a union president used the racial slur “crackers,” McBride encouraged the individual to not use that term again.
Mayor Reed Gusciora and Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Ewing) have condemned McBride’s comments.
Councilman Jerrell Blakeley has called for McBride’s resignation as council president and has asked the council to censure her, but no other councilmembers have stepped up.
Council Vice President Marge Caldwell-Wilson has not responded to several requests for comment, beginning on Friday evening.