Sunday, January 29, 2017

Everybody's suffering in the Holocaust.... Reince Priebus; Sean Spicer: Pathetic

Original Post

I have the feeling that the White House didn't expect the negative reaction to Trump's statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day (see CNN story:

Reince Priebus was just as ridiculous today as Hope Hicks was yesterday in defending the statement.

Hicks yesterday: "Administration spokeswoman Hope Hicks said that the statement did not specifically mention Jews because 'despite what the media reports, we are an incredibly inclusive group and we took into account all of those who suffered,' as quoted in a CNN report published Saturday."

Priebus today: "'I don't regret the words, Chuck. I'm trying to clear it up for you,' Priebus said. 'I mean, everyone's suffering in the Holocaust, including obviously all of the Jewish people affected, and the miserable genocide that occurred is something that we consider extraordinarily sad and something that can never be forgotten and something that, if we could wipe it off the history books we could, but we can't and it's terrible. I mean, I don't know what more to tell you.'"

If Trump is really as close as he says he is to his Jewish son-in-law, Jared Kushner, why didn't he consult Kushner on the wording of this statement? He's handed over negotiating between Israel and the Palestinians to Kushner - didn't he trust him to write a statement about Holocaust Remembrance Day? I wonder who actually DID write this statement.

Update - response from Sean Spicer, Trump's press secretary:

Spicer: “It was written with the help of an individual who is both Jewish and descended from Holocaust survivors [RL: presumably Jared Kushner]. To suggest that remembering the Holocaust and acknowledging all of the people – Jews, gypsies, priests, disabled people - It is pathetic that people are picking on a statement.”

He's saying the same thing as Hicks and Priebus - this is the White House line. Trump's statement, however, didn't actually say anything about Jews, gypsies, priests, or disabled people - it was incredibly vague. Libby Nelson from Vox writes: "Trump’s statement, on the other hand, is so vague that it could apply to nearly any tragic event. Substitute the name of a terrorist attack or mass shooting for 'the Holocaust,' and 'terrorism' or 'gun violence' for 'Nazi terror,' and it wouldn’t seem out of place."

It appears now that Jared Kushner was involved in writing the statement - and if so, why didn't he insist on including the Jews in it? Trump defenders keep telling us that Trump is a friend of the Jews because his daughter and son-in-law are Jews. I don't see any evidence that that helps.

PS. I just read a Vanity Fair article about Kushner - it seems that he's not exactly getting his way in the White House. Perhaps Spicer was lying and Kushner had nothing to do with writing the statement.

PPS, from February 1 - it turns out that the Jewish person descended from Holocaust survivors on the White House staff is not Kushner, but another guy named Boris Epshteyn, according to Talking Points Memo:
Boris Epshteyn, special assistant to President Donald Trump, reportedly wrote the White House's statement commemorating International Holocaust Memorial Day that failed to mention the 6 million Jews killed by the Nazis.

Epshteyn wrote the much-maligned statement, according to a Politico report that cited an unnamed source with knowledge of the situation.

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