Reince Priebus Defends President Trump’s Holocaust Remembrance Day Statement

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White House chief of staff Reince Priebus stopped by NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday to defend statements made by President Trump on International Holocaust Remembrance Day that some deemed to be controversial.

President Trump followed in the footsteps of past presidents on Friday, and made an address in remembrance of those lost in the Holocaust. He said in the statement:

“It is with a heavy heart and somber mind that we remember and honor the victims, survivors, heroes of the Holocaust. It is impossible to fully fathom the depravity and horror inflicted on innocent people by Nazi terror.”

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The commemoration ignited a firestorm among critics, who called out President Trump for not specifically mentioning the six million Jews that died as a result of the historic tragedy, according to the Washington Post.

But Priebus stood by the statement Sunday. He told “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd that he didn’t regret the wording choice and understands the terror Jewish people faced during the Holocaust:

“Well, I recognize, in fact, obviously that that was what the Holocaust was about. And it’s a horrible event. And obviously, a miserable time in history that we remember here at the White House and certainly will never forget the Jewish people that suffered in World War II.”

Many critics were quick to call President Trump out for anti-Semitism. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) even told the Washington Post that the statement could be considered “Holocaust denial.”

Priebus pointed out that the president has Jewish family members:

“I think you know that President Trump has dear family members that are Jewish.”

Ivanka Trump and the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, are both Jewish. Ivanka converted to Orthodox Judaism when she married Kushner in 2009.

Image Credit: Aaron P. Bernstein / Stringer / Getty

She told Vogue in 2015 that the religion plays an important role in her life:

“I really find that with Judaism, it creates an amazing blueprint for family connectivity.”

Ivanka has yet to comment on the recent criticism of her father’s statement.

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