2/21/2017 2:44:00 PM Trump denounces threats against Jewish centers
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump today denounced recent threats against Jewish community centers as “horrible ... painful” and said more must be done “to root out hate and prejudice and evil.”
Trump made his remarks after touring the newly opened National Museum of African American History and Culture. “This tour was a meaningful reminder of why we have to fight bigotry, intolerance and hatred in all of its very ugly forms,” Trump said. On Monday, 11 Jewish community centers across the country received phoned-in bomb threats, according to the JCC Association of North America. Like three waves of similar calls in January, Monday’s threats proved to be hoaxes, the association said in a statement.
In addition, as many as 200 headstones were damaged or tipped over at a Jewish cemetery in suburban St. Louis late Sunday or early Monday. “The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible and are painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil,” Trump said. He did not outline what that might include. The president’s comments marked the first time he had directly addressed recent incidents of anti-Semitism and followed a more general White House denouncement of “hatred and hate-motivated violence.”
That statement, earlier Tuesday, did not mention the community center incidents or Jews. Trump “has made it abundantly clear that these actions are unacceptable,” the statement said. The FBI said it is joining with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division to investigate “possible civil rights violations in connection with threats.” On Monday, Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump wrote on Twitter, “We must protect our houses of worship & religious centers,” and used the hashtag (hash)JCC. She converted to Judaism ahead of her 2009 marriage to Jared Kushner. She joined her father at the African American museum tour. Throughout his presidential campaign, Trump was criticized for what some saw as belated and inadequately forceful denunciations of hateful rhetoric by supporters.