President Trump spoke out Tuesday against the wave of anti-Semitic threats against Jewish community centers, calling them “horrible” reminders of the bigotry that still exists in the country.
“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 after touring the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.
Trump has been under increasing pressure to speak out again anti-Semitism amid several recent episodes, including bomb threats made Monday against 11 Jewish community centers. Similar threats have been made to Jewish schools in recent weeks, and last Thursday vandals in suburban St. Louis knocked over dozens of headstones in a Jewish cemetery.
“America is a nation built on the principle of religious tolerance. We must protect our house of worship & religious centers. #JCC,” Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, tweeted Monday.
She converted to Judaism before marrying husband Jared Kushner, who is Orthodox.
On Tuesday, Hillary Clinton, Trump’s Democratic rival in the 2016 White House race, called on Trump and others to “speak out” on attacks.
“JCC threats, cemetery desecration & online attacks are so troubling & they need to be stopped. Everyone must speak out, starting w/ @POTUS,” Clinton tweeted about an hour before Trump’s remarks.
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
Trump also said Tuesday that his visit to the Smithsonian Museum on the National Mall was a “reminder why we have to fight bigotry and intolerance in all forms.”
The statement comes after the White House issued a more general condemnation of “hate-motivated violence.” Trump’s White House faced criticism last month after issuing an International Holocaust Remembrance Day statement that did not specifically mention Jews.
At last week’s press conference, Trump also cut off a reporter who asked the president about anti-Semitism in America.