During today’s visit to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, President Trump finally addressed the rising tide of anti-Semitism that his election has inspired.
Bomb threats have been called in nearly 70 times to 47 different Jewish community centers – eleven yesterday alone. Over the weekend, nearly 170 gravestones in a Missouri Jewish cemetery were defiled and vandalized. Synagogues have been smashed and swastikas spray-painted in public across the nation.
Republican President Trump was asked not once but twice last week whether or not he would condemn the rising wave of anti-Semitism. Both times he refused to do so; the second time, he shouted down an Orthodox Jewish reporter for daring to imply that Trump was prejudiced.
But today, his handlers finally convinced him to say something – or perhaps it was being publicly chided by his defeated rival, Hillary Clinton, who we should remember won three million more votes than Trump did.
Either way, Trump, with all the sincerity of a child being forced to apologize, announced that the anti-Semitic incidents were “horrible and painful and a very sad reminder of the work that must still be one to root out hate and prejudice.”
The Anne Frank Center For Mutual Respect was not impressed with Trump’s sudden show of concern. Director Steven Goldstein took to Facebook today to lambaste the President for refusing to take the issue seriously.
MR. PRESIDENT, YOUR TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF #Antisemitism TODAY IS NOT ENOUGH.
“The President’s sudden acknowledgment is a Band-Aid on the cancer of Antisemitism that has infected his own Administration. His statement today is a pathetic asterisk of condescension after weeks in which he and his staff have committed grotesque acts and omissions reflecting Antisemitism, yet day after day have refused to apologize and correct the record. Make no mistake: The Antisemitism coming out of this Administration is the worst we have ever seen from any Administration. The White House repeatedly refused to mention Jews in its Holocaust remembrance and had the audacity to take offense when the world pointed out the ramifications of Holocaust denial. And it was only yesterday, President’s Day, that Jewish Community Centers across the nation received bomb threats, and the President said absolutely nothing. When President Trump responds to Antisemitism proactively and in real time, and without pleas and pressure, that’s when we’ll be able to say this President has turned a corner. This is not that moment.”
Trump has filled his administration with anti-Semites like Steven Bannon; he purposefully left any mention of the six million Jewish victims in his Holocaust Remembrance Day statement and has consistently refused to properly condemn the anti-Semitic incidents occurring across the country.
He might as well send out an email to neo-Nazis and white supremacists across the country informing them that in addition to no longer monitoring them on FBI watch lists, anti-Semitic attacks will be ignored by the White House. Trump is emboldening extremists and encouraging violence against anyone who isn’t a white Christian. It’s terrifying to realize that the horrifying ideologies that led to the Holocaust now have a home in the Oval Office.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.