Dana Schwartz is an arts and entertainment writer for the New York Observer, a newspaper owned by Jared Kushner, Donald Trump‘s son-in-law. After Trump tweeted out a meme with Hillary Clinton and the text “Most Corrupt Candidate Ever” in a star that looked like the Star of David, Schultz decided to publish an open letter to Kushner. In it, she pointed out that she received several anti-Semitic comments after her initial Twitter response and that Trump’s replacement tweet had “America First” in it, a phrase that also has anti-Semitic connotations.
1. Schwartz Says Trump’s Replacement Tweet Still Had Anti-Semitic Connotations
When Trump deleted the original tweet and replaced it with a new meme that had “Most Corrupt Candidate Ever” in a circle, he added the hashtag #AmericaFirst. The points of the star were also still visible on the image.
America First, as Schwartz points out, is the name of a movement Charles Lindbergh, a White supremacist, led during World War II. Lindbergh was against American involvement in World War II. In April 2016, the Anti-Defamation League asked Trump to stop using that phrase. ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt wrote:
The undercurrents of anti-Semitism and bigotry that characterized the America First movement – including the assumption that Jews who opposed the movement had their own agenda and were not acting in America’s best interest – is fortunately not a major concern today. However, for many Americans, the term ‘America First’ will always be associated with and tainted by this history. In a political season that already has prompted a national conversation about civility and tolerance, choosing a call to action historically associated with incivility and intolerance seems ill-advised.
2. Schwartz Began Her Criticism of the Trump Tweet on Twitter
Schwartz began criticizing the Trump tweet right when it was posted. “Hmm! What could Donald Trump possible be evoking with the raining money and Star of David,” she wrote first. She later added, “No Jew can vote for Trump with a clean conscience. He makes very clear the type of people he tries to appeal to.”
She also posted screenshots of the anti-Semitic responses her tweets received.
“There are a lot of symbols you can make on Microsoft Word, and sometimes symbols SYMBOLIZE ideas, concepts, or groups,” Schwartz wrote. “A cross for instance. I feel silly explaining this to you. This explanation is so inane that I feel so condescending refuting it to you, ostensibly my boss, that it feels insubordinate.”
Kushner sent the following statement in response to Schwartz’s letter:
My father-in-law is an incredibly loving and tolerant person who has embraced my family and our Judaism since I began dating my wife. I know that Donald does not at all subscribe to any racist or anti-semitic thinking. I have personally seen him embrace people of all racial and religious backgrounds. The suggestion that he may be intolerant is not reflective of the Donald Trump I know.
“It seems crafted by PR, and doesn’t address the point of my article in the slightest,” Schultz told Politico. “I’d love a real response from Mr. Kushner.”
Observer editor Ken Kurson did not have Kershner read the open letter before running it online. For his part, Kurson told Politico that he disagrees with Schwartz’s letter.
“No one I know sets the sensitivity meter higher than I do on anti-semitism. My mother fled the Holocaust and I am highly identified as a Jewish journalist,” Kurson told Politico. “If I saw that in Trump, I’d be the first one to write about it, and no one on earth could stop me. In my opinion, Donald Trump is not a Jew hater.”
“The fact it’s up for debate, in July of an election year, whether or not a candidate is anti-Semitic is heartbreaking,” she also told Politico. “He deflected my point entirely: racist people are drawn to Donald Trump. That’s a fact.”
3. Schwartz Was a Cartoon Assistant at The New Yorker & Video Producer at Mental_Floss
Prior to joining the Observer, the Brown University graduate gained experience in comedy as an intern on Conan and then The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. She also worked at Mental_Floss and The New Yorker, where she was a cartoon assistant.
Her first career choice was medicine though. According to her LinkedIn page, she was a research intern at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute from June to September 2012 and a research assistant at the University of Chicago from May to September 2013. When she joined Conan in 2014 though, she figured out comedy was the place for her.
4. She Gained internet Fame With @GuyInYourMFA
Schwartz gained her Internet fame with @GuyInYourMFA, which she still runs. “Two re-writes away from finishing the great American novel. Maybe about a 20-something in Brooklyn?” the page’s bio reads.
“I feel like he’s the kind of guy who loves hearing his own voice and would actually love the idea of crowds of people listening to his brilliant ideas, so it seemed like a natural fit,” Schwartz told A Womens Thing last year.
The page now has 76,900 followers.
5. Her Third Twitter Account is @DystopianYA
If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to live like a dystopian young adult novel, just follow another account Schwartz created, called @DystopianYA, which she started early last year. It’s her third Twitter account, because she also has to have one for her real life.
@DystopianYA account quickly grew to 69,800 followers. Amazingly, both of her parody accounts have more followers than her real life profile.
In an interview with the Fiction Advocate, Schwartz said that she believes she can do good with her talents.
“Wanting to be a writer, go to Hollywood and work in movies and TV, seems really self-indulgent,” she said. “I’ve had to find a way to convince myself that I can still do good with those tools.”