WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump will deliver the keynote address at an annual Holocaust remembrance ceremony in the United States Capitol Rotunda Tuesday, the US Holocaust Memorial and Museum said Sunday.
The event — which is part of a week-long Days of Remembrance observance — entails a tradition of having six candles lit by Holocaust survivors surrounded by members of Congress, White House officials and various community leaders.
Trump will follow in all of his recent predecessors’ footsteps. Every US president since 1979 except for George H.W. Bush has attended at least one of the Days of Remembrance memorial events.
The event was first orchestrated by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1979. The following year, Congress established the Week of Remembrance as the nation’s official commemoration of the Shoah.
The gathering also recognizes American veterans who helped to liberate Nazi concentration camps.
“During [Days of Remembrance], the Museum leads the nation in remembering the victims of the Holocaust and honoring the survivors,” the museum said in a statement.
Since taking office in January, the Trump administration has repeatedly been forced to fend off claims of insensitivity to anti-Semitism and Holocaust-related matters.
Two weeks ago, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer drew intense criticism for falsely claiming Adolf Hitler never used chemical weapons.
He also referred to concentration camps and death camps as “Holocaust centers.”
The young Trump administration also drew the ire of many in the Jewish community when it released a statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day in January that made no mention of Jews or anti-Semitism.
Several of Trump’s deputies went on to defend the statement amidst outrage from Jewish groups and others.
Trump is the first president with immediate family members who are Jewish. His daughter Ivanka married Kushner, an Orthodox Jew, in 2009.
The two — who observe Shabbat and keep kosher — have raised their three children, the youngest of whom was born last March, Jewish.
Members of his administration, however, have also been accused of links to anti-Semitic groups,including top adviser Stephen Bannon and policy adviser Sebastian Gorka.
Early in the former real estate mogul’s presidency, many Jewish leaders expressed dismay with his administration’s handling of repeated bomb threats being called into Jewish day schools and other institutions and apparent hesitance to speak out unequivocally against anti-Semitism.
The president went on to denounce these anti-Semitic attacks in his maiden speech to Congress in February opening that address on the issue.
“Recent threats targeting Jewish community centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as last week’s shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms,” he said.
Tuesday’s event will take place at 11 a.m. EST, and will be live streamed on the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s website.