After issuing a Holocaust Memorial message that didn’t mention its Jewish victims; and after very awkward comments about the Congressional Black Caucus at a marathon news conference last week, the president seems to have discovered these concerns; but not all are convinced. Here’s the latest:
President Donald Trump on Tuesday denounced the recent rise in bomb threats against Jewish community centers across the country, saying the anti-Semitism and racism that is troubling America must be addressed.
“Anti-Semitism is horrible. And it’s gonna stop and it has to stop,” Trump told NBC News in an exclusive interview, after touring the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.
Federal authorities have been investigating a wave of phoned-in bomb threats at least 10 Jewish community centers, including in Alabama, Ohio, Illinois, Texas and New York. No one was injured, and the threats appeared to be hoaxes, the Jewish Community Center Association of North America told NBC News on Monday.
“I think it’s terrible,” Trump said of the threats. “I think it’s horrible. Whether it’s anti-Semitism or racism or any — anything you wanna think about having to do with the divide. Anti-Semitism is, likewise, it’s just terrible.”
He added, “You don’t know where it’s coming from, but I hope they catch the people.”
Well, it was something. But not enough for one dissatisfied observer:
The director of the Anne Frank Center rebuked President Donald Trump’s statement denouncing a spate of anti-Semitic crimes, calling it a ‘Band-Aid on the cancer of Antisemitism.’
“The president’s sudden acknowledgement is a Band-Aid on the cancer of Antisemitism that has infected his own administration,” Steven Goldstein, the executive director of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect in New York, said on Tuesday in a statement.
“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 public record,” Goldstein said. “Make no mistake: The Antisemitism coming out of this Administration is the worst we have ever seen from any Administration.”
Similar sentiments, expressed with more restraint, had been voiced late last week by Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO/National Director of the anti-Defamation League, in the Washington Post:
Emboldening Bigots from the White House
“Simply put, dismissing this issue as a political distraction or partisan concern does not change the fact that there has been a surge in anti-Semitic rhetoric and actions. Trump’s repeated failure to denounce anti-Semitism has consequences, emboldening bigots.
So it is honestly mind-boggling why Trump prefers to shout down a reporter or deride the concerns of the Jewish community. It is shocking to us that in this day and age, the president will not acknowledge — much less condemn — the rise in anti-Semitic rhetoric and actions. The issue of anti-Semitism is not a political one. But it is potentially lethal.
With the president’s leadership, it can get better. With his neglect or instigation, it can get worse.
In light of the rise of hate, there is a simple question that Trump should answer, not only for American Jews but to assuage Americans of all faiths — what will his administration do about the surge of anti-Semitism? What concrete steps will the White House take?”
Anti-semitism and racism. Very serious charges against a national administration. Looks like they’re not going away, despite the statement on Monday. And saying “it’s gonna stop and it has to stop,” isn’t the same as actually doing something to make it stop.
Racism and anti-semitism. They’re like the ghosts at his fancy table at Mar-a-Lago, and around the desk in the Oval Office.
Except they aren’t ghosts.