A statement from President Trump marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day omitted any mention of Jews or anti-Semitism, a departure from recent bipartisan precedent set by previous presidents.
The statement calls for remembrance of “victims, survivors, heroes,” but nowhere does it mention the millions of Jewish people killed during the Holocaust, nor does it mention the ideology of anti-Semitism that led to the killings.
Here’s the statement from Trump 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.”
In a series of tweets, Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, noted the omissions.
“@WhiteHouse statement on #HolocaustMemorialDay, misses that it was six million Jews who perished, not just ‘innocent people,’ ” Greenblatt tweeted. “Puzzling and troubling @WhiteHouse #HolocaustMemorialDay stmt has no mention of Jews. GOP and Dem. presidents have done so in the past.”
Steven Goldstein, executive director of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, was also critical of the White House statement.
“President Trump’s statement today for International Holocaust Remembrance Day makes NO MENTION of Jews,” he said in a statement. “How can you forget, Mr. President, that six million Jews were murdered because they were Jews? You chose the vague phrase ‘innocent people.’ They were Jews, Mr. President.”
The international day of remembrance has fallen on the day the Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated since 2006. Former president Barack Obama’s statements on the day noted the “6 million Jews and millions of other people” who were killed by Nazis. In 2005, when President George W. Bush marked the 60th anniversary of Auschwitz’s liberation, he declared it “a reminder that when we find anti-Semitism, we must come together to fight it.”
In 2007, Bush’s statement marking the day noted: “We must continue to condemn the resurgence of anti-Semitism, that same virulent intolerance that led to the Holocaust, and we must combat bigotry and hatred in all their forms, in America and abroad.”
The White House did not respond to requests for comment.
Fred Brown, a spokesman for the Republican Jewish Coalition, blamed the controversy on political partisans.
“It’s outrageous that people are using Holocaust Remembrance Day for partisan reasons or to try and settle scores,” Brown said in a statement. “The horrors of the Holocaust are not to be taken lightly. We must never forget the millions of Jews who suffered at the hands of hate, and the heroes who died fighting it.”