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Bill Kristol slams Eric Trump over 'shekels' comment

The Hill logo The Hill 2018-09-12 Emily Birnbaum

Conservative commentator Bill Kristol slammed Eric Trump on Wednesday over his comments alleging that veteran journalist Bob Woodward went on CNN for his latest book in order to make "three extra shekels."

Kristol, a vocal critic of President Trump who serves as editor-at-large of the conservative Weekly Standard magazine, posted a Twitter poll asking if the president's second oldest son was "too stupid to know he's being anti-Semitic," with the options "yes," "no" and "not mutually exclusive."

As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 16,000 people had voted in the poll, with "yes" and "not mutually exclusive" at 44 and 45 percent, respectively.

Eric Trump faced backlash throughout the day Wednesday over the "shekels" comment, which some say evokes stereotypes associating Jews with corruption and greed.

"Shekel" is the currency used in ancient and modern-day Israel.

The younger Trump made the comments while denouncing Woodward's latest book, "Fear: Trump in the White House," calling it "nonsense."

The president and several top advisers have blasted the book in recent days, accusing Woodward of portraying a false image of the White House.

"Don't you think people look through the fact that you can write a sensational, nonsense book, CNN will definitely have you on there because they love to trash the president," Eric Trump said on "Fox & Friends" on Wednesday morning. "It will mean you sell three extra books, you make three extra shekels."

a couple of people posing for the camera © Provided by The Hill

The White House has pushed back aggressively on the book for days, saying it is "fiction" based on accounts from disgruntled former employees.

The book details a chaotic and fractured White House in which staffers regularly seek to undermine the president and bad-mouth him behind closed doors.

Multiple officials have denied quotes and accounts attributed to them, though Woodward has repeatedly stated that he stands by his reporting.

In an interview with The New York Times podcast "The Daily" published Tuesday, the Watergate journalist said people often call him to say they are planning to publicly deny stories that they know to be true.

"One key person, who's in office, called me and said 'everyone knows what you said here is true, it's 1,000 percent correct,' " Woodward said on the podcast. "And then this person has said some public things that contradict that."

"And I'm not happy, but I have a smile on my face because the truth in all of this is going to emerge," Woodward added.

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