Dems pressure GOP over Trump's Holocaust Remembrance statement

Dems pressure GOP over Trump's Holocaust Remembrance statement
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At least 70 House Democrats have signed onto a resolution condemning the Trump White House for failing to reference the Jewish people in its statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

But so far, no Republicans have jumped on board.

The resolution, authored by House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joseph Crowley (N.Y.), calls on “every entity in the executive branch” to reaffirm the “indisputable fact that the Nazi regime targeted the Jewish people in its perpetration of the Holocaust,” according to a copy shared with The Hill.

The “2017 White House statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day did not include a reference to Jewish people targeted during the Holocaust,” the resolution states.

“Whereas, when given the opportunity to correct the omission, senior officials in the White House instead defended the exclusion of any reference to the Jewish people in the Holocaust Remembrance Day statement.”

Top White House officials have refused to apologize or express regret for leaving out any mention of Jews in the Holocaust Remembrance statement, even as Jewish groups and high-profile Jewish Americans criticized the move.

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White House spokeswoman Hope Hicks told CNN the statement was meant to be “inclusive” since “priests, gypsies, people with mental or physical disabilities, communists” and many other groups were killed in the Holocaust.

And in an appearance Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus brushed off suggestions Trump’s team was trying to “whitewash” history and said he didn’t regret the statement.

“I mean everyone suffering in the Holocaust, including, obviously, all of the Jewish people affected in the miserable genocide that occurred,” Priebus said, “is something that we consider to be extraordinarily sad and something that can never be forgotten and something that, if we could wipe it off of the history books, we would. But we can't. And it's terrible.”

Several people in Trump’s orbit are Jewish, including Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, who serves as a top aide in the White House. Boris Epshteyn, a Trump adviser who is Jewish, wrote the statement, Politico reported.

Crowley sent a “Dear Colleague” letter to all House members asking them to co-sponsor the resolution. But so far, no Republicans have agreed.

If they ignore his request, a Democratic aide said, the caucus chairman plans to try to force a floor vote on the matter by collecting 218 signatures for a discharge petition.

All 194 Democrats would be likely to sign onto the petition, so Crowley would need support from 24 Republicans to bypass GOP leaders and bring the resolution directly to the floor.

“It is no secret that anti-Semitism is on the rise in many places throughout the world, including in the United States in recent months. Some of it is explicit hatred while other is more subtle, but a great deal feeds on misinformation, innuendo, propaganda, and omission,” Crowley wrote to his colleagues.

“One of the best ways to fight anti-Semitism and other forms of hatred is telling the truth, which is all the more important in an environment in which clearly visible truths are denied in public.”

Crowley continued: “The White House’s recent, purposeful decision to omit mention of anti-Semitism or the Jewish people in its Holocaust Remembrance Day statement — and then its subsequent defense of that statement, raises legitimate concerns, especially in an environment in which extremist parties in many places throughout the world are on the rise.

“Congress needs to go on the record — the Holocaust targeted the Jews. Six million Jews perished. Period.”

- Mike Lillis contributed.