One year on, Trump cheered for embassy move at White House Hanukkah party
search

One year on, Trump cheered for embassy move at White House Hanukkah party

Andrew Pollack, father of Parkland shooting victim Meadow Pollack, calls US president ‘greatest friend Jewish people have ever had’ as candle lit in daughter’s memory

Andrew Pollack, father of Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting victim Meadow Pollack, shakes hands with US President Donald Trump during a Hanukkah reception in the  White House  in Washington, DC, December 6, 2018. (AFP/Brendan Smialowski)
Andrew Pollack, father of Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting victim Meadow Pollack, shakes hands with US President Donald Trump during a Hanukkah reception in the White House in Washington, DC, December 6, 2018. (AFP/Brendan Smialowski)

WASHINGTON — The father of a Florida school shooting victim helped the White House celebrate Hanukkah on Thursday and lauded Donald Trump as a “fighter” who has “retaken Washington for the American people,” as the US president was hailed for deciding to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem a year earlier.

Trump said the menorah was being lit in the East Room in memory of 18-year-old Meadow Pollack “and all of the precious lives stolen from us this year, and we will pledge our resolve to confront hatred and violence in all of its evil forms.”

Meadow was among 17 people killed in a February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. A 17-year-old student has been charged in the Valentine’s Day massacre.

Meadow’s father, Andrew Pollack, said he has been fighting for his daughter and other students since the shooting.

He was among a group of teen survivors and parents of murdered children who attended a White House discussion shortly after the shooting.

“Mr. President, despite the pundits and so-called experts who said you couldn’t, you have retaken Washington for the American people,” Pollack said Thursday. “You are the greatest friend that the Jewish people have ever had in the White House, not only because you recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and followed through on your promise to move the embassy to Jerusalem, but because you understand the spirit of Hanukkah, within your heart.”

Pollack added: “We have to keep fighting because the safety of our children and the future of our country depend on whether we honor the true spirit of Hanukkah, by staying true to our traditions and to keep on winning.”

Trump described Pollack’s sorrow and pain as unimaginable and thanked him and his family for attending.

“We promise to hold the memory of beautiful Meadow and every Parkland victim in our hearts forever,” Trump said.

US businessman Sheldon Adelson during a Hanukkah reception at the White House in Washington, DC, December 6, 2018. (AFP/Brendan Smialowski)

The audience, which included Israeli envoy Ron Dermer and casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson, erupted into cheers when Trump mentioned his decision last year to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and, earlier this year, to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

Trump announced the decision exactly a year earlier, on December 6, 2017, breaking with decades of US policy, and drawing vociferous protests from around the world. He is routinely cheered when mentioning the embassy move, which actually took place on May 14, during speeches in the US heartland.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Ambassador David Friedman marked the anniversary during a candle-lighting ceremony at the Western Wall.

US Ambassador to Israel David M. Friedman (right) and his wife, Tammy, joined Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Jerusalem’s Western Wall for a candle-lighting ceremony marking the fifth night of Hanukkah to mark one year since President Trump’s December 6, 2017 declaration on moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem. (Matty Stern/US Embassy Jerusalem)

“President Trump, in a brave and real move, recognized what we know has existed here not only since the days of the Maccabees, but since the days of King David, 800 years earlier,” Netanyahu said. “In the recognition of Jerusalem, of our heritage and the link that no other people and no other city have, President Trump simply spoke the truth, and truth is the basis for everything and the basis for peace.”

US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump attend a Hanukkah reception with Holocaust survivors in the White House in Washington, DC, on December 6, 2018. (AFP/Brendan Smialowski)

At the White House, Trump also recognized eight Holocaust survivors, saying they had endured “evil beyond description.”

The president also mentioned the fatal October shooting of 11 Jews at a Pittsburgh synagogue. He said that after that “sinister” killing, “we reaffirmed our solemn duty to confront anti-Semitism everywhere.” Trump added that we “must stamp out this vile hatred from the world.”

Trump’s daughter Ivanka converted to Judaism to marry Jared Kushner. Through the couple, Trump has three Jewish grandchildren.

read more:
comments