White House: Trump’s Failure to Mention Jews, Anti-Semitism, on Holocaust Remembrance Day Was Intentional
The White House defended its failure to mention Jews on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, explaining that other people besides Jews suffered tremendously and that the Trump administration wanted to be more “inclusive.”
President Donald Trump mentioned neither Jews nor anti-Semitism during his brief January 27 statement, in which he spoke of the “victims, survivors [and] heroes of the Holocaust.”
“It is impossible to fully fathom the depravity and horror inflicted on innocent people by Nazi terror,” Trump said.
When pressed on why the president did not mention the group of people most targeted and affected by Adolf Hitler’s genocidal campaign to rid the world of the “Jewish problem,” Trump administration spokeswoman Hope Hicks told CNN on Saturday that “despite what the media reports, we are an incredibly inclusive group and we took into account all of those who suffered.”
Hicks offered a link to a Huffington Post article noting that while six million Jews were slaughtered during the Holocaust, another five million people were also victims of the murderous Nazi regime, including “priests, gypsies, people with mental or physical disabilities, communists, trade unionists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, anarchists, Poles and other Slavic peoples, and resistance fighters.”
Trump’s failure to mention Jews or anti-Semitism on International Holocaust Remembrance Day is unprecedented and follows a presidential campaign in which prominent Jewish groups accused Trump of anti-Semitism. One of the president’s chief advisers, Steve Bannon, has also been dogged by allegations of anti-Semitism, both during his time heading the alt-right website Breitbart.com and during the 2016 presidential campaign.
The Trump administration vehemently denied the accusations of anti-Semitism, pointing to the 11 Jews appointed to high-level administration positions and the president’s staunch support for Israel.
Leading Jewish groups were alarmed by Trump’s glaring omission. “@WhiteHouse statement on #HolocaustMemorialDay misses that it was six million Jews who perished, not just ‘innocent people,'” Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Director Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted. “Puzzling and troubling @WhiteHouse #HolocaustMemorialDay stmt has no mention of Jews. GOP and Dem. presidents have done so in the past.”
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), Hillary Clinton’s running mate in her unsuccessful 2016 bid for the presidency, accused Trump of “Holocaust denial.”
“President Obama, President Bush always talked about the Holocaust in connection with the slaughter of Jews. The final solution was about the slaughter of Jews. We have to remember this. This is what Holocaust denial is,” Kaine said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.
Trump’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day statement ended with a pledge to “make love and tolerance prevalent throughout the world,” a curious promise, critics said, given what they called the president’s very unloving and intolerant ban on refugees, immigrants and travelers from seven predominantly Muslim nations, all of which have been bombed by the United States.