Let the lesson be learned: if you spend weeks seemingly avoiding mentioning anti-Semitism at all costs, even in the face of a rising tide of reported anti-Jewish hate symbols and bomb threats, you shouldn't expect to get a let-bygones-be-bygones response. That's because the Anne Frank Center isn't happy with Trump's anti-Semitism statement, blasting his statement after weeks of silence as commander-in-chief.
According to its website, the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect dedicates itself to being:
...a progressive voice for social justice, fighting hatred of refugees and immigrants, anti-Semitism, sexism, racism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, bias against the differently abled and any other hate that runs counter to American promise of freedom.
There's a lot in that mission statement that would give ample cause for the center to take a dim view of both the Trump campaign, and the fledgling Trump presidency.
But on Tuesday, one day after an incident in which hundreds of graves at a St. Louis-area Jewish cemetery were defaced, and another slew of bomb threats were phoned into Jewish community centers throughout the country, the president finally had to respond: Trump called anti-Semitism "horrible" at the National Museum of African American Museum and Culture, and also referred to it as a reminder of "the work that still must be done to root out hate, and prejudice, and evil."
The Anne Frank Center, however, was not impressed with Trump's at-long-last acknowledgment.
Here's how Steven Goldstein, its executive director, responded to the president's brief statement on Tuesday.
The President's sudden acknowledgement is a Band-Aid on the cancer of Antisemitism that has infected his own Administration. His statement today is a pathetic asterisk of condescension after weeks in which he and his staff have committed grotesque acts and omissions reflecting Antisemitism, yet day after day have refused to apologize and correct the record. Make no mistake: The Antisemitism coming out of this Administration is the worst we have ever seen from any Administration. The White House repeatedly refused to mention Jews in its Holocaust remembrance, and had the audacity to take offense when the world pointed out the ramifications of Holocaust denial. And it was only yesterday, President's Day, that Jewish Community Centers across the nation received bomb threats, and the President said absolutely nothing. When President Trump responds to Antisemitism proactively and in real time, and without pleas and pressure, that's when we'll be able to say this President has turned a corner. This is not that moment.
The Trump campaign and young presidency have both been dogged by allegations of anti-Semitism, or of failing to denounce clear examples of such. During the campaign, since-dismissed Trump national security adviser Mike Flynn retweeted an anti-Semitic message, and Trump himself tweeted out an image of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's face over a pile of money next to a Star of David that read "most corrupt candidate ever!"
And, of course, there was his so-called "closing argument" campaign ad, which also drew accusations of playing to anti-Semitic stereotypes about Jewish bankers and powerful financiers.
It's also true that the white nationalist and supremacist alt-right, which is shot-through with virulent anti-Semitism ― you need only ask the many Jewish writers and journalists who were sent images of themselves being thrown into gas chambers or burned during the campaign ― has gravitated towards Trump above all other American politicians.
This hasn't just been an issue since he became president, which is why the administration's apparent resistance to specifically naming and denouncing hatred towards the Jewish people has sparked so much intense scrutiny. And if Goldstein and the Anne Frank Center have their way, Trump clearly won't get any credit just for doing what he should've done all along.