Donald Trump’s receiving backlash over his Holocaust Memorial Day statement, which curiously expresses hope for “love and tolerance” throughout the world but omits any mention of Jews. This, of course, has prompted criticism that evokes the kerfuffle over Trump’s anti-Clinton campaign ad that may have used a “Star Of David” to symbolize corruption.
This time around, Trump’s team has published a seriously short note on the White House website, which only refers to 6 million Jewish victims as “innocent people.” It’s worth observing the statement in full:
“It is with a heavy heart and somber mind that we remember and honor the victims, survivors, heroes of the Holocaust. It is impossible to fully fathom the depravity and horror inflicted on innocent people by Nazi terror.
“Yet, we know that in the darkest hours of humanity, light shines the brightest. As we remember those who died, we are deeply grateful to those who risked their lives to save the innocent.
“In the name of the perished, I pledge to do everything in my power throughout my Presidency, and my life, to ensure that the forces of evil never again defeat the powers of good. Together, we will make love and tolerance prevalent throughout the world.”
The breezy note was quickly torn apart on Twitter. In particular, Jonathon Greenblatt of the Anti-Defamation League was troubled by Trump’s omission.
Indeed, one wonders whether the Trump team even thought this statement through, or if Steve Bannon, who cultivated a legion of anti-Semitic readers at Breitbart, may have played a role. Naturally, folks are also comparing Trump’s note to President Obama’s 2016 observance statement, which was lengthier and more substantive. One paragraph in particular stands out, in which Obama says America will “stand in solidarity” with Jews:
“[W]e stand in solidarity with the Jewish community both at home and abroad. We stand with those who are leaving the European cities where they have lived for generations because they no longer feel safe, with the members of institutions that have been attacked because of their Jewish affiliations, and with the college students forced to confront swastikas appearing on their campuses. And we call upon all people of good will to be vigilant and vocal against every form of bigotry.”
Obama’s statement reflected a deeply respectful knowledge of Holocaust history, and he also delivered a related 2016 speech, in which he quoted an American WWII hero who was held captive by in Germany. “We are all Jews,” Obama stated. “I cannot imagine a greater expression of Christianity than to say, I, too, am a Jew.”
It’s worth mentioning that Trump has issued his statement on the same day that he’ll sign an executive order that promises to put his “extreme vetting” catchphrase into action (while curtailing the number of refugees permitted to entire the United States). He’ll sign this order late Friday afternoon at the Department of Defense’s Hall of Heroes.
Today, the St. Louis Manifest Twitter account is paying tribute to Jews who tried to enter the U.S. as refugees. (They were turned away because the U.S. government feared they were Nazi spies.) All day, the account has been tweeting the names of Holocaust victims who were turned away from the U.S. border in 1939, only to be killed by the Nazi regime.