The White House on Friday recognized International Holocaust Remembrance Day with a message that specifically mentioned the six million Jews killed by the Nazis, a year after coming under a barrage of criticism for omitting any specific mention of Jews when marking the day last January.
“Tomorrow marks the 73rd anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Nazi death and concentration camp in Poland,” the White House said in a statement. “We take this opportunity to recall the Nazis’ systematic persecution and brutal murder of six million Jewish people. In their death camps and under their inhuman rule, the Nazis also enslaved and killed millions of Slavs, Roma, gays, people with disabilities, priests and religious leaders, and others who courageously opposed their brutal regime.”
“On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we acknowledge this dark stain on human history and vow to never let it happen again,” the statement said.
The White House had previously defended its decision in 2017 not to mention Jews in the statement.
“Despite what the media reports, we are an incredibly inclusive group and we took into account all of those who suffered,” Hope Hicks, now the White House communications director, told CNN at the time.
Then-press secretary Sean Spicer went even further, calling criticism of the statement “pathetic.”
“The president recognized the tremendous loss of life that came from the Holocaust,” Spicer said days after the 2017 statement, adding that one of its writers “is both Jewish and the descendant of Holocaust survivors.”
Trump’s White House was criticized at the time from across the political spectrum. The Republican Jewish Coalition called the omission “unfortunate,” while the Anti-Defamation League declared it “puzzling and troubling.”