President Trump hosted the annual Hanukkah reception at the White House Thursday evening, a day after his controversial decision to declare Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Hundreds gathered in the East Room for the occasion, which First Lady Melania Trump, daughter Ivanka Trump, son-in-law Jared Kushner and Vice President Mike Pence also attended.
Mr. Trump began his remarks retelling the story of Hanukkah before congratulating the Jewish faithful in attendance for his decision one day earlier.
“Hanukkah is a time for Jewish families around the world to celebrate the miracles of the past and the promises of the future,” Trump said. “We are proud to stand with the people of Israel and renew our enduring bond.”
Thursday’s celebration comes one day after Mr. Trump’s announcement to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and plans to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. His decision was met with shockwaves throughout the world.
As six Pearl Harbor veterans stood by his side, President Trump signed a presidential proclamation from the White House Thursday recognizing December 7 as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. One of the survivors of the surprise attack, Michael Ganitch, who was also wearing a bright Hawaiian shirt for the occasion, broke out into song with “Remember Pearl Harbor” during the president’s remarks.
“What can I say? Wow that was good — he’s a very shy person too,” Mr. Trump joked as Ganitch finished the song.
The president praised each of the six veterans as heroes, thanking them for their service and promising to build up the military under his administration. Mr. Trump also called the attacks on Pearl Harbor “a pretty wild scene.”
“Today our entire nation pauses to remember Pearl Harbor and the brave warriors who on that day stood tall and fought for America,” he said.
National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day marks the anniversary of the Japanese aerial attack on the U.S. naval base Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The attack killed more than 2,300 servicemen. In response, the United States and the United Kingdom declared war against Japan the following day. Thursday is the 76th anniversary of the attack.
11:30 am: Meets with Republican Members of the Senate; Cabinet Room
1:30 pm: Meets with RNC Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel
2:15 pm: Signs a proclamation for National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day
3:00 pm: Meets with the congressional leadership
4:00 pm: Meets with former Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton
7:30 pm: Hosts a Hanukkah reception; State Floor