WASHINGTON ― Trump administration officials reportedly ignored a draft White House statement for Holocaust Remembrance Day that specifically mentioned Jews, instead releasing remarks that made no mention of Jewish victims.
The draft statement originated in the State Department Office of the Special Envoy on Holocaust Issues, and was first reported by Politico on Thursday. The Special Envoy’s office traditionally prepares a formal statement every year that the White House issues to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, on Jan. 27.
Instead of using the State Department draft, President Donald Trump released a three-paragraph statement that honored “the victims, survivors, [and] heroes of the Holocaust,” but failed to mention Jewish people victimized by the Nazi regime.
The White House told Politico it was unaware that the Special Envoy’s office had prepared an official statement, and didn’t see it until after Trump’s comments had been released.
The omission of Jews from the official statement drew immediate condemnation from Jewish groups, which said it minimized the suffering of millions of Jews, and whitewashed the genocidal aim of the Holocaust.
“Especially as a child of Holocaust survivors, I and [the Zionist Organization of America] are compelled to express our chagrin and deep pain at President Trump, in his Holocaust Remembrance Day Message, omitting any mention of anti-Semitism and the six million Jews who were targeted and murdered by the German Nazi regime and others,” said Mort Klein of the conservative Zionist Organization of America.
Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said the White House statement “misses that it was 6 million Jews who perished, not just ‘innocent people’”
Trump’s statement was praised by neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers on websites like Stormfront.
The Trump administration has defended its failure to directly mention Jews in the statement.
“We are an incredibly inclusive group and we took into account all of those who suffered,” White House spokeswoman Hope Hicks said on CNN.