Press Secretary Sean Spicer also draws fire for Holocaust denial comment;
White House also fumbles annual Easter Egg roll
By Miriam Raftery
Photo: White House Seder, with Trump seat vacant
April 11, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – The annual White House Seder dinner marking the start of Passover was held on Monday with Jewish staffers and friends. But President Donald Trump did not attend, even though he was reportedly at home in the White House at the time.
Nor did any member of the Trump family participate, not even his Jewish son-in-law, Jared Kuschner, or Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, who practices Judaism.
President Barack Obama began the tradition and joined the White House Seder, along with his family, for all eight years of his presidency.
Trump’s snub comes on the same day that the Anne Frank Center called for White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer to be fired for a remark perceived as a Holocaust denial comment.
Speaking about Syrian dictator Bashad al-Assad, Spicer suggested Assad was worse than German dictator Adolph Hitler because Hitler “didn’t sink to using chemical weapons.”
Hitler used cyanide gas to murder Jews in German concentration camps during World War II, when 6 million Jewish people perished.
Steve Goldstein, Executive Director of the Anne Frank Center, called for Spicer to be fired.
On Facebook, Goldstein posted, “On Passover no less, Sean Spicer has engaged in Holocaust denial, the most offensive form of fake news imaginable, by denying Hitler gassed millions of Jews to death. Spicer's statement is the most evil slur upon a group of people we have ever heard from a White House press secretary."
The Anne Frank Center is named for the young teen girl who died in one of Hitler’s concentration camps.
This is not the first time the Trump administration has offended Jews. On Holocaust Remembrance Day, Trump issued a statement that failed to mention Jews. His top aide, Steve Bannon, previously published anti-Semitic material on Breitbart News. Trump himself, during his campaign, retweeted messages from blatant anti-Semites and white Supremacists.
The White House also managed to offend many Christians this week by sharply scaling back the annual White House Easter egg hunt Melania Trump failed to follow the tradition of past first ladies and has not hired the staff that customarily organizes this event and others.
The Maine manufacturer of wooden eggs given as gifts each year to participants has, in the past, produced 80,000 of the wooden eggs, according to the White House website. Tis year, the company took to Twitter to publicize the lack of an order after the White House, President and First Lady failed to respond to his earlier reminders.
The Trump administration eventually ordered just 18,000 of the eggs, the New York Times reports.
Thus far, the White House has not sent any invitations to public schools or military families whose children have joyfully joined in the White House egg hunt in the past.
This year’s egg hunt participants, as in other recent years, will be chosen via a lottery that people in all 50 states could enter online.
The White House has not announced any A-list celebrity attendees, though a lone Sesame Street character is scheduled to appear – ironic, given that President Trump’s budget seeks to completely eliminate funding for public television, which airs the popular children’s program.
The White House egg roll began back in 1878 under President Rutherford B. Hayes. President Richard Nixon first added the Easter Bunny to the festivities and President Ronald Reagan added the now-popular egg hunt to the traditional egg roll on the White House lawn.
It is not yet known whether any member of the Trump family will join in the Easter egg activities set for Sunday.