The letter to the editor of the Committee on Ethics in Jewish Leadership (Nov. 4) interpreted my comments in The Jewish Week (Oct. 14) as defending the substance of Donald Trump’s [“Access Hollywood” tape] comments. The letter failed to perceive my message that Trump’s comments, as reported in the press, did not legally disqualify him from pursuing election. My reason for my view lies in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, which protects freedom of speech in America. The Committee on Ethics in Jewish Leadership failed to perceive both the force of the First Amendment and the fact that I made no substantive comment on Trump’s message. My comments did not embrace an issue of ethics.
It was clear that I never heard nor saw Trump’s actual remarks, but was reacting to newspaper descriptions of a conversation he participated in more than eleven years ago. The main comment I offered was that it did not disqualify Trump from having the right to stand for election to public office. The text of his comments was not at issue; the only issue was: Did it provide grounds to disqualify his right to run for election? Anyone familiar with the First Amendment knows the answer.