Though her public statements and appearances are now occasional occurrences, Hillary Clinton urged President Trump to denounce anti-Semitism on Tuesday. "JCC threats, cemetery desecration & online attacks are so troubling & they need to be stopped," she tweeted. "Everyone must speak out, starting w/ @POTUS."
A couple of hours following her message, the president spoke to NBC reporter Craig Melvin about the threats. “Anti-Semitism is horrible and it’s going to stop," he said. President Trump had been noticeably silent on his favorite social media platform, Twitter, for over 15 hours on both his own personal account and the official POTUS profile. The silence, which came amidst a slew of new bomb threats targeting Jewish Community Centers, didn't just stick out to Clinton — the Anti-Defamation League also called on the new administration to address the issue. On Monday, a message was posted to the organization's national Twitter account reading, "We are still waiting to hear what administration will do to address ongoing threats to Jewish communities #answerthequestion"
The White House denounced the threats on Monday in a message delivered by Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters. "Hatred and hate-motivated violence of any kind have no place in a country founded on the promise of individual freedom," she said. "The President has made it abundantly clear that these actions are unacceptable."
JCC threats, cemetery desecration & online attacks are so troubling & they need to be stopped. Everyone must speak out, starting w/ @POTUS.— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) February 21, 2017
First daughter Ivanka Trump responded to the news a day before her father, insisting that worship centers must be protected in a nation "built on the principle of religious tolerance." The gesture was praised by ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, but he asserted the importance of President Trump speaking out himself. "All Jews need to urge @POTUS to step forward & share a plan," he tweeted. "His words carry weight. His actions will speak even louder."
According to statistics shared by the JCC Association of North America, 54 Jewish centers in the U.S. and Canada have received 69 different threats since Jan. 9.
The Trump administration has sparked concern within the Jewish community multiple times. The president's appointment of Steve Bannon as his chief strategist and closest advisor has been perhaps one of the main sources of apprehension. Bannon has long been accused of harboring anti-Semitic views, stemming from, among other things, the inflammatory content regarding Jews published on the "alt-right" website of which he was a founding member, Breitbart News; his alleged comments referring to Jews as "whiny brats"; his alleged refusal to let his daughters attend a school because of the high Jewish population. Considering Bannon's reportedly unusually strong influence within the White House, his presence continues to be a point of contention for the Jewish community.
In late January, administration was criticized for releasing a statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day without a single mention of the Jewish people. When he was asked about the uptick in threats and attacks on the Jewish community during his impromptu Feb. 12 press conference, President Trump responded, "I am the least anti-Semitic person that you've ever seen in your entire life."
Time will tell.