The Trump White House’s controversial Holocaust Memorial Statement is back with even more sketchy details. Last week, Trump’s brief note on the subject was widely criticized for omitting any reference to Jews and only referring to the millions of “innocent people” who perished in the Holocaust. (The Trump White House effectively All Lives Matter-ed the Holocaust.) Folks also compared Trump’s statement to Obama much lengthier 2016 devotion that reflected a deeper dive into history and arrived with a speech, in which Obama quoted an American WWII hero who stated, “We are all Jews.”
Politico has now spoken with three sources who have revealed that State Department officials crafted a separate statement, which they believed was going to be used by the Trump administration. However, the statement was reportedly “blocked” in favor of the version that was ultimately issued. Here’s some more about the fallout:
The existence of the draft statement adds another dimension to the controversy around the White House’s own statement that was released on Friday and set off a furor because it excluded any mention of Jews. The White House has stood by the statement, defending it as an “inclusive” message that was not intended to marginalize Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
Instead, the White House’s own statement drew widespread criticism for overlooking the Jews’ suffering, and was cheered by neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer.
A White House official said there was no ill intent, adding that the White House didn’t see State’s draft until after issuing its own statement and told State not to release its version because it came after 7 p.m.
So, the White House is saying that they never knew about the State Department’s version and never asked them to draft one in the first place. This won’t quell the criticism, especially for folks who are concerned about Steve Bannon, who wooed an audience of anti-Semitic readers at Breitbart, and his strong influence on Trump.
However, it’s also possible that Trump himself didn’t see the big deal in omitting all reference to Jews in his statement. After all, he’s the same president who talked about himself during his Black History Month address and may not even realize that Frederick Douglass is no longer alive. He also began his National Prayer Breakfast by mocking Arnold Schwarzenegger, so he’s not exactly one to properly observe an occasion.