Sen. Tim Kaine likens Trump officials to Holocaust deniers

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum released a statement Monday amid controversy over President Donald Trump's omission of Jews in his own comment on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

"When you have the chief political adviser in the White House, Steve Bannon, who is connected with a news organization that traffics in white supremacy and anti-Semitism, and they put out a Holocaust statement that omits any mention of Jews".

"President Trump's statement on January 27 commemorating Holocaust Remembrance Day appropriately called out the suffering of innocents as well as the heroism of those who took personal risks to save others".

"It is with a heavy heart and somber mind that we remember and honor the victims, survivors, heroes of the Holocaust", Trump said in his statement.

"It is pathetic that people are picking on a statement", White House press secretary Sean Spicer said in a briefing with reporters.

Your statement, while truthful, neglected to identify the 6 million Jews among the "innocent people" targeted by the Nazis, a fact which reasonably could have been an oversight by an administration barely a week in office and busy issuing such executive orders as your recent indefinite immigration ban on refugees from Syria. Now that Trump is president, the same dynamic is playing out around his statement on the Holocaust.

Of course, there was suffering and heroism of non-Jews during the Holocaust. No mention of Jews, no "final solution", no direct acknowledgment of why Holocaust Remembrance Day exists in the first place.

Most educated adults, and virtually all elected national politicians on both sides of the aisle, are aware that anti-Semites and anti-Zionists jump not just at opportunities to deny that the Holocaust occurred, but also at opportunities to claim it was exaggerated or not designed specifically to target Jews. Not only have past administrations paid tribute to the six million Jews murdered in the Shoah, but included other victims of the Nazis as well.

Most American Jewish groups condemned Trump's Remembrance Day statement.

Among those who criticised it was Jonathan Greenblatt, head of the Anti Defamation League, who said Holocaust Memorial Day was created to reflect on the "singular tragedy" of the annihilation of the Jewish people.

"The Holocaust was built on a fascist nationalism with a goal to exterminate the Jewish people from the face of the earth".

What we saw from the White House was classic softcore denial.

Deborah Lipstadt wrote a book Denying the Holocaust: The growing assault on truth and memory that is as relevant today as two decades ago.

Trump's Chief of Staff Reince Priebus defended the president's statement on Sunday, saying he does not "regret the words" used in the statement and that the administration wasn't "whitewashing anything".

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)

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