Democrat Mondaire Jones, a former House member running again in New York’s 17th district, apologized a day after sending a message that many social media users, including members of his own political party, viewed as antisemitic.
Following California Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s ouster from the speaker role in a 216 to 210 vote on Wednesday — where eight Republicans joined every Democrat in the lower chamber — Jones took to X to post a picture of McCarthy with Jewish leaders while adding, “Well this was a waste of everyone’s time.”
The photo showed McCarthy wearing a yarmulke and eating alongside the Jewish leaders. Social media users quickly condemned the message.
The post garnered backlash from other members of his political party, including Liz Gereghty, the sister of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who is facing Jones in the Democratic primary.
“If Mondaire Jones didn’t realize that his tweet could be viewed as antisemitic and elicit vile comments in response, I would question his judgment,” Gereghty said, according to Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel.
“If he did it anyway, that’s far, far worse,” she continued. “As someone with a large social media platform running for Congress, he has a responsibility to hold himself to the highest possible standards and I would hope he is more thoughtful in the future, because the rise of hate in this nation is currently one of the greatest threats to our safety and stability. I will never take any community for granted or exploit them for personal gain.
Reps. Jared Moskowitz of Florida and Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, both Democrats, initially laid into Jones, but then deleted their posts.
“This was not a waste of time. It is never a waste of time to meet with religious leaders,” Moskowitz wrote, according to The Hill. “Additionally, I doubt your choice of religion to highlight here was coincidental.”
Moskowitz later said he spoke to Jones and did not believe he intended to be antisemitic. Jones retweeted the message to his followers.
“This disgusting post is insulting to Jewish people and every person of faith. Meeting with religious leaders is critical to understanding the needs of our communities. This antisemitic rhetoric is deeply concerning,” Gottheimer said in his since-deleted post.
Jones ultimately pulled his post with an apology, saying people had misconstrued what he had intended in the message.
“Yesterday, I posted a tweet that was too open to misinterpretation,” Jones wrote on Wednesday. “My point was to communicate that Kevin McCarthy, and by extension Mike Lawler, cannot possibly deliver for communities in Rockland because he’s no longer Speaker.”
“Regrettably, I did not make this point clear enough, and so I have deleted the tweet,” Jones continued. “I am proud of my record of combating antisemitism in Congress and after Congress. In a time of rising anti-semitism, we must be crystal clear where we stand: I continue to be a strong ally of our diverse Jewish communities.”
The winner of the Democratic primary in New York’s 17th district will face Republican Rep. Mike Lawler, who knocked out longtime Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney after redistricting reshaped the reliably blue area into a swing district.
Jones had previously represented the 17th but stepped aside for Maloney, running unsuccessfully instead in a primary for the reshaped 10th district.
Fox News Digital’s Cameron Cawthorne and Emily Robertson contributed to this report.