Many assumed that when the White House didn’t include a mention of Jews or anti-Semitism in its Holocaust Remembrance Day statement that it amounted to a mistake from a new administration. The Guardian, for example, noted that “the oversight by the White House comes as the Trump administration is still adjusting to the transition of power.” Not quite. Turns out, it was very much intentional.
So, why did the White House fail to mention Jews in its Holocaust Remembrance Day statement? “Despite what the media reports, we are an incredibly inclusive group and we took into account all of those who suffered,” administration spokeswoman Hope Hicks told CNN.
To support her jaw-dropping statement, Hicks apparently sent over a link to a Huffington Post UK story that talks about the 5 million people—including “gay people, priests, gypsies, people with mental or physical disabilities, communists, trade unionists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, anarchists, Poles and other Slavic peoples, and resistance fighters”—who were killed by the Nazis in addition to 6 million Jews.
When Hicks was asked directly whether the White House was worried about offending other groups targeted by the Nazis, she simply said: “It was our honor to issue a statement in remembrance of this important day.”
Hicks’ flabbergasting statement came a day after the head of the Anti-Defamation League said it was “puzzling and troubling” that the White House statement to mark Holocaust Memorial Day mentioned the “depravity and horror” inflicted on “innocent people” and made no mention of Jews specifically. That was a marked contrast to statements made by former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.
It is with a heavy heart and somber mind that we remember and honor the victims, survivors, heroes of the Holocaust. It is impossible to fully fathom the depravity and horror inflicted on innocent people by Nazi terror.
Yet, we know that in the darkest hours of humanity, light shines the brightest. As we remember those who died, we are deeply grateful to those who risked their lives to save the innocent.
In the name of the perished, I pledge to do everything in my power throughout my Presidency, and my life, to ensure that the forces of evil never again defeat the powers of good. Together, we will make love and tolerance prevalent throughout the world.