Trump to speak to Jewish leaders ahead of High Holy Days despite rabbi boycotts

Trump to speak to Jewish leaders ahead of High Holy Days despite rabbi boycotts
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President Trump is set to hold a conference call with Jewish leaders ahead of the High Holy Days, keeping with a tradition set by his predecessor, former President Obama, despite threats to boycott the call.

The New York Times reported Thursday that Trump would move forward with the phone call even though he is facing backlash from some Jewish leaders over his comments about violence in Charlottesville, Va., in August. Several groups have vowed to boycott the call.

“In commemoration of the Jewish High Holy Days, President Donald J. Trump would like to invite you to a conference call where he will send well wishes for the upcoming holidays and discuss his administration’s progress on issues of interest to the Jewish community,” an email to invitees read.

“We hope that you will accept our invitation to join this exciting call as the Jewish people welcome 5778 and reflect on the past year."

Trump came under fire last month for his statements on white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups in the wake of a deadly demonstration in Charlottesville. 

In a fiery press conference days after the demonstrations, Trump blamed "both sides" — white nationalist protesters and anti-racist counterprotesters — for the violence in Charlottesville and said there were "very fine people" among both groups. 

The comments stoked a widespread public furor and drew condemnation from both Democrats and Republicans, who urged the president to unequivocally condemn hate groups. 

Jewish groups also fiercely denounced Trump's comments. The Republican Jewish Coalition, for example, called on the president to provide "greater moral clarity in rejecting racism, bigotry, and antisemitism."

"There are no good Nazis and no good members of the Klan," Norm Coleman, the group's national chairman, and Matt Brooks, its executive director, said in a statement.