Jewish congressional Democrats not invited to Trump White House Hanukkah party
President Trump hosted his first White House Hanukkah party on Thursday night, where he touted his administration’s decision to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel.
Trump hosted hundreds of attendees at the White House for the party, with a guest list that had been narrowed from previous administrations.
Congressional Democrats, as well as Jewish leaders who have been critical of Trump, were excluded from receiving invitations this year, The New York Times reported.
Meanwhile, the two Jewish Republican members of Congress, Reps. Lee Zeldin (N.Y.) and David Kustoff (Tenn.), were attending the party, their offices confirmed to the Times.
Trump’s move the previous day to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel and set in motion a plan to move the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was celebrated at the party Thursday. The decision was praised by pro-Israel voices but condemned by the Palestinians and others.
In his speech to attendees at the White House, Trump said he was thinking about “what’s going on” in Jerusalem.
“Hanukkah is a time for Jewish families around the world to celebrate the miracles of the past and the promises of the future,” Trump said. “We are proud to stand with the people of Israel and renew our enduring bond.”
“And right now I’m thinking about what’s going on and the love that’s all over Israel and all about Jerusalem,” he added.
Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, attended the party and called Trump’s declaration a “historic moment” for Israel.
“People are in a celebratory mood and just kvelling over this incredible, historic moment,” Klein told the Times. “He did not invite people who have been hostile to him.”
Congressional Jewish Democrats, however, blasted Trump for turning the holiday festivities into a “partisan” event.
“It’s deeply unfortunate that the White House Hanukkah Party — a bipartisan event bringing together Jewish and non-Jewish leaders alike to celebrate the Festival of Lights since 2001 — has turned into a partisan affair under this administration,” Rep. Nita Lowrey (D-N.Y.) told the Times in a statement.
The White House denied that the guest list was shortened for political reasons in a statement.
“I am not aware of the political affiliation of any of the guests, but I do know that this year was meant to be more personal than political,” first lady Melania Trump’s spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, told the Times.