Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank, one of the most prominent Jewish leaders in Georgia, criticized Donald Trump for a statement released by the White House on International Holocaust Remembrance Day that omitted mention of the six million Jews murdered by Nazi Germany.
The billionaire Home Depot co-founder told Newsday it was a “tragic time in the history of the world, not only for Jewish individuals but for non-Jews as well.”
“And so I think it always deserves recognition, it always deserves to remind us of certain characteristics that can take place and to make sure they’re not seen in any form or fashion in any of our democracies or institutions around the world,” said Blank, a frequent donor to Democratic causes.
Trump’s White House on Friday released a six-paragraph statement to commemorate the memorial, but Jewish groups and others quickly noted it made no mention of the millions of Jewish people who died in the Holocaust or the anti-Semitism that led to their deaths.
Jewish GOP groups also chided Trump for the omission. U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., said the omission was an attempt at “Holocaust denial.” And Emory University professor Deborah Lipstadt, one of the world’s leading experts on the genocide, called it another example of “de-Judaization of the Holocaust.”
Trump spokesman Sean Spicer told critics Monday that “nitpicking” the statement was “just ridiculous” and he said the statement was written with the help of someone who is Jewish and the descendant of Holocaust survivors. (He would not say whether that person was Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law.)
Blank also seemed to take a swipe at Trump’s immigration policy, telling Newsday that the nation’s strength is its diversity “and the abilities and capacities and commitments to all those people that came from around the world to settle here because they saw a dream and a vision.”