White House press secretary Sean Spicer doubled down on a White House statement issued Friday on Holocaust Remembrance Day that has sparked backlash from some for not directly mentioning Jews or anti-Semitism.
“The statement was written with the help of an individual who is both Jewish and the descendants of Holocaust survivors,” Spicer said Monday. “To suggest that remembering the Holocaust and acknowledging all of the people — Jewish, gypsies, priests, disabled, gays and lesbians — it is pathetic that people are picking on a statement.”
When a reporter questioned whether Spicer was referring to the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, as the author of the statement, he would not confirm.
Spicer sought to contrast the statement with the actions of the Obama administration — pointing to the Iran nuclear deal as one example — to make the case that the Trump administration is stronger in its support of the Jewish people and specifically Israel than the previous administration.
“To compare a statement that remembers the Holocaust with the actions of the last eight years and the disrespect that was shown to Israel is unbelievable,” Spicer said.
“It is with a heavy heart and somber mind that we remember and honor the victims, survivors, heroes of the Holocaust,” President Trump said in Friday’s statement. “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.”