Trump’s statement elicited a storm of criticism for failing to mention the Jews killed during the Holocaust.
JTA – The State Department crafted a statement for International Holocaust Remembrance Day that explicitly mentioned the Jewish victims of the Nazis, but President Donald Trump’s White House team reportedly blocked its release.
The State Department’s Office of the Special Envoy on Holocaust Issues prepared a statement that it believed was written for Trump to use. The statement specifically mentioned the Jews murdered by the Nazis.
The Trump official told Politico that the president did not receive the State Department draft until after he released his own statement.
Trump’s statement, released Jan. 27, elicited a storm of criticism for failing to mention the Jews killed during the Holocaust.
The White House statement spoke of “the victims, survivors, [and] heroes of the Holocaust,” but did not specifically mention Jews or anti-Semitism, which had been customary in statements by his predecessors, Barack Obama and George W. Bush.
The Zionist Organization of America, Republican Jewish Coalition and the Anti-Defamation League were among the many Jewish groups to take issue with the omission. Sen. Tim Kaine likened the statement to Holocaust denial.
In response to the criticism, Trump administration spokeswoman Hope Hicks defended the statement as an attempt to be inclusive.
Trump’s chief of staff, Reince Priebus, said the president “has dear family members that are Jewish.”
“I recognize, in fact, obviously that that was what the Holocaust was about,” Priebus said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” last weekend.
Statement by the President on International Holocaust Remembrance Day
“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.”