Donald Trump, the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide

Today was a rather solemn day, for today was both Holocaust Remembrance Day and Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day. Today, we commemorate the 6 million Jews and 1.5 million Armenians who died in two of the most horrific genocides of the 20th century. However, there are many people who have done so, and I regret to inform that some of them work (and live) at the White House. Among those people is the current “President” of the United States, Donald John Trump.

Tomorrow, on April 25, Trump will attend the Yom HaShoah Remembrance Day, where he will be the keynote speaker. This has caused considerable consternation in the Jewish community, as Trump has been known to send mixed message about Jewish people. For one thing, White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon was accused by his ex-wife of making anti-Semitic comments, and Bannon’s deputy Sebastian Gorka has been accused of having ties to European far-right organizations. Trump’s Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, caused controversy a couple weeks ago for stating that Adolf Hitler didn’t use chemical weapons on his own people when discussing Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons in Syria.  On the other hand, several of Trump’s friends and family members – including his daughter Ivanka, her husband and their children – are Jewish. As for Trump’s message for Yom HaShoah, his speech was criticized for borrowing the “Introduction to the Holocaust” from the Holocaust Museum’s website almost word for word. Compare the following from the Holocaust Museum’s website:

The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators.

And here is the White House’s statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day:

The Holocaust was the state-sponsored, systematic persecution and attempted annihilation of European Jewry by the Nazi regime and its collaborators.

 

That is just shameful. Trump or his staff displayed their indifference to such an solemn day by plagiarizing the Holocaust Museum’s website. This reminds me of when Trump’s White House failed to mention Jews or anti-Semitism on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Some might say that Trump’s Yom HaShoah statement was an attempt to atone for the International Holocaust Remembrance Day one, but I would call it half-hearted at best.

But Trump was not done. Today was also Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, and a week ago, I expressed doubts that Trump would recognize the events as Genocide. This was not so much because of the geopolitical implications resulting from such a decision, but rather because of Trump’s business ties in Turkey and Azerbaijan (both of whom have a longstanding enmity with Armenia). Indeed, I was proven right when Trump released the following statement (bolding mine):

Today, we remember and honor the memory of those who suffered during the Meds Yeghern [Armenian for “Great Crime”], one of the worst mass atrocities of the 20th century.  Beginning in 1915, one and a half million Armenians were deported, massacred, or marched to their deaths in the final years of the Ottoman Empire.  I join the Armenian community in America and around the world in mourning the loss of innocent lives and the suffering endured by so many.

I am not surprised by this one bit. Granted, Trump never touched upon the subject of the Armenian Genocide during the 2016 election, which was a break from previous presidential campaigns who have promised to recognize the Armenian Genocide as candidates only to walk back on that promise after getting elected. However, this should not excuse Trump from failing to recognize the events as genocide. Again, I believe that Trump refused to do so due to his business ties in Turkey and Azerbaijan, which disgusts me to no end. Think about that: We have a President who believes that his own coffers are more important than human rights or historical fact.

In conclusion, I have found these events to be so in-character for Trump. The only person that Trump cares about is Trump, and it does not matter to him who gets hurt by his actions.

 

The Centrist and Independent Voice

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