President Trump vowed to stamp out anti-Semitism Tuesday in remarks at the Capitol commemorating the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s National Days of Remembrance.
“This is my pledge to you: We will confront anti-Semitism, we will stamp out prejudice, we will condemn hatred, we will bear witness and we will act,” he said.
“As president of the United States, I will always stand with the Jewish people and I will always stand with our great friend and partner, the state of Israel.”
The president’s annual address is a staple of the museum’s programming around Yom Hashoah — Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel.
But the event took on added meaning this year with Trump’s presentation.
Trump has faced criticism in his presidency for not doing enough to stamp out anti-Semitic attacks in America, which appeared to rise earlier this year amid headline-grabbing attacks on Jewish cemeteries.
The administration has also been criticized for a lack of sensitivity on the Holocaust and anti-semitism. Most recently, White House spokesman Sean Spicer apologized after comparing Adolf Hitler to Syrian President Bashar Assad, and referring to concentration camps as Holocaust Centers.
Trump and those close to him have bristled at the criticism, and the president has spoken out forcefully against anti-Semitism.
The president’s daughter Ivanka converted to Judaism when she married Jared Kushner, who is now Trump’s senior adviser at the White House.
Trump took a forceful tone at times on Monday, and focused some of his remarks on Israel.
Speaking to the packed audience, Trump celebrated Israel as “an eternal monument to the undying strength of the Jewish people,” recognized World War II veterans in the audience who liberated survivors and gave a long tribute to Elie Weisel, a prominent Holocaust survivor and author who became the face of the memorial effort.
“You tell of these living nightmares,” Trump said to survivors in the audience, “because despite your great pain, you believe in Elie’s famous plea that for the dead and the living, we must bear witness.
“That is why we are here today — to remember and to bear witness, to make sure that humanity never ever forgets the Nazi’s massacre.”
Trump promised to stand behind the Jewish people and keep the memory of the Holocaust alive despite opposition from those who try to stamp it out of history books.
“Even today, there are those who want to forget the past. Worse still, there are even those filled with such hate, total hate, that they want to erase the Holocaust from history. Those who deny the Holocaust are an accomplice to this horrible evil, and we’ll never be silent, we just won’t, in the face of evil again,” he said.
And he warned that anti-Semitism is still present in the world, noting incidents on college campuses and recent “threats against Jewish citizens” as well as terror attacks and those who “threaten Israel with total and complete destruction,” a reference to Iran.
–The Hill, Ben Kamisar