By Joe Crowe
The State Department put together a statement about International Holocaust Remembrance Day that mentioned Jewish victims, but the White House used its own, which drew controversy.
According to Politico, a White House official said they did not see the State Department’s draft until after it had released its own statement, and told the State Department not to release its version. The official also told Politico that the White House did not ask the State Department to write its statement.
The White House statement on the day of remembrance said: “It is with a heavy heart and a 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.”
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the Trump administration stands by its message.
“I think by and large he’s been praised for it. I think the president recognized the tremendous loss of life in the Holocaust,” Spicer said.
Critics of the statement included the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
“Millions of other innocent civilians were persecuted and murdered by the Nazis, but the elimination of Jews was central to Nazi policy,” the museum said in a statement, Politico reports.
The Republican Jewish Coalition and the Zionist Organization of America both said the Jewish people should have been mentioned.
“The lack of a direct statement about the suffering of the Jewish people during the Holocaust was an unfortunate omission. History unambiguously shows the purpose of the Nazis’ final solution was the extermination of the Jews of Europe. We hope, going forward, he (the president) conveys those feelings when speaking about the Holocaust,” said Fred Brown from the Republican Jewish Coalition.