POLITICS
04/25/2017 01:10 pm ET Updated Apr 26, 2017

Donald Trump Honors Holocaust Victims Despite His Own Fraught History With Anti-Semitism

“I will always stand with the Jewish people," he said.

President Donald Trump paid tribute to victims and survivors of the Holocaust on Tuesday by pledging to “never be silent in the face of evil again.”

In a speech at the U.S. Capitol honoring the Holocaust Museum, Trump responded to the recent wave of anti-Semitic attacks and threats against Jewish Americans.

“We will confront anti-Semitism, we will stamp out prejudice, we will condemn hatred,” he said. “I will always stand with the Jewish people ... and the state of Israel.” 

Also present at the event was the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, who is Jewish. Trump’s daughter Ivanka also converted to Judaism when she and Kushner married.

Monday marked Yom Hashoah, Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day. Trump was criticized in January after he failed to mention Jewish people in a tribute he delivered on U.S. Holocaust Remembrance Day. 

Trump also honored the late author and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, whom he referred to as “the gentle spirit of an angel” on Tuesday. Wiesel died in July, just hours after the then-GOP presidential candidate tweeted an anti-Semitic image originally featured on a white supremacist website.

Trump defended his use of the image, but it was only the beginning of his campaign’s problems with the Jewish community. His decision to hire former Breitbart exec Steve Bannon, who has ties to white nationalism, as a top White House adviser, caused further frustration.

Holocaust remembrance groups (including the museum Trump was honoring on Tuesday) have also repeatedly criticized his ban on refugees, which has drawn comparisons to the U.S.’s treatment of Jewish refugees during World War II. The president’s “America First” slogan also has roots in 1940s anti-Semitism.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer certainly didn’t help his boss’ case earlier this month when, unprompted, he told reporters that Hitler had never used chemical weapons. Spicer has since apologized for that error.


CORRECTION: A previous version of this article misstated the location of Trump’s speech. It was at the U.S. Capitol, not the Holocaust Museum.

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