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News Tuesday, Apr 11 2017

Sean Spicer Defends Hitler, Echoes Holocaust Deniers, From Trump White House Briefing Room

Apr 11, 2017

American Bridge President Jessica Mackler released the following statement after Sean Spicer doubled down on defending and lying about Hitler’s use of poisonous gas on millions:
“Once again the Trump White House is shamefully aligning itself with Holocaust deniers.  And instead of apologizing, Sean Spicer doubled down on his disgusting comments, minimizing Hitler’s use of poisonous gas upon millions of Jews and other minority groups — all in the name of attempting to score political points for the Trump administration. This is a new low for even Donald Trump, and if Sean Spicer can’t retract these comments and apologize, he ought to find a new line of work.” 
Background On Donald Trump And His White House’s Anti-Semitism

Administration Defended Omission Of Jews From Holocaust Remembrance Day Statement

The White House Official Statement On Holocaust Remembrance Day Did Not Mention Jews OR Anti-Semitism

A Statement From Trump On International Holocaust Remembrance Day Did Not Mention Jews Or Anti-Semitism, A Departure From Bipartisan Precedent. According to the Washington Post, “A statement from President Trump marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day omitted any mention of Jews or anti-Semitism, a departure from recent bipartisan precedent set by previous presidents. The statement calls for remembrance of ‘victims, survivors, heroes,’ but nowhere does it ­mention the millions of Jewish people killed during the ­Holocaust, nor does it mention the ideology of anti-Semitism that led to the killings.” [Washington Post, 1/27/17]

Trump Aides Defended The Omission

Priebus Said He Didn’t Regret The Words. According to the Washington Post, “In a statement on Friday, President Trump broke with the bipartisan practice of past presidents by failing to include any mention of the anti-Semitic views that fueled the Holocaust and left 6 million Jews and millions of others dead. ‘I don’t regret the words,’ said White House chief of staff Reince Priebus when asked to defend the statement on NBC News’ ‘Meet the Press’ on Sunday. ‘Everyone’s suffering [in] the Holocaust including obviously all of the Jewish people affected and miserable genocide that occurs — it’s something that we consider to be extraordinarily sad,’ Priebus added.” [Washington Post, 1/27/17]

Priebus: “You Know That President Trump Has Dear Family Members That Are Jewish And There Was No Harm Or Ill Will Or Offense Intended By Any Of That.” According to the Washington Post, “But Priebus noted that Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is also a senior adviser in the White House, is Jewish. Trump’s daughter Ivanka converted to Judaism before the two married. ‘You know that President Trump has dear family members that are Jewish and there was no harm or ill will or offense intended by any of that,’ Priebus added.” [Washington Post, 1/27/17]

Hope Hicks: “Despite What The Media Reports, We Are An Incredibly Inclusive Group And We Took Into Account All Of Those Who Suffered.” According to CNN, “The White House statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day didn’t mention Jews or anti-Semitism because ‘despite what the media reports, we are an incredibly inclusive group and we took into account all of those who suffered,’ administration spokeswoman Hope Hicks told CNN on Saturday. Hicks provided a link to a Huffington Post UK story noting that while 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis, 5 million others were also slaughtered during Adolf Hitler’s genocide, including ‘priests, gypsies, people with mental or physical disabilities, communists, trade unionists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, anarchists, Poles and other Slavic peoples, and resistance fighters.’” [CNN, 2/2/17]

Spicer Called The Outcry Over The Omission “Nitpicking” And “Pathetic.” According to the Washington Post, “Officials said the omission was intentional, and Spicer said that Trump’s record of defending Israel speaks for his allegiance to the Jewish people. ‘It is pathetic that people are picking on his statement,’ Spicer said. ‘I mean, the idea that you’re nitpicking a statement that sought to remember this tragic event that occurred, and the people who died in it, is just ridiculous. ‘I think he acknowledged the suffering that existed and wants to make sure that it’s enshrined in the American people’s memory, so that something like this never ever happens again,’ he added.” [Washington Post, 1/30/17]

Spicer Said The Statement Was Written “With The Help Of An Individual Who’s Both Jewish And The Descendant Of Holocaust Survivors.” According to the Washington Post, “Others have questioned whether the White House sought the input of Trump’s son-in-law and senior aide Jared Kushner in the crafting of the statement. Spicer said on Monday that the statement was crafted ‘with the help of an individual who’s both Jewish and the descendant of Holocaust survivors.’ Asked whether he was referring to Kushner, whose grandparents were Holocaust survivors, Spicer said he was ‘not getting into who wrote it.’” [Washington Post, 1/30/17]

Donald Trump

Trump Reportedly Said Some Anti-Semitic Bomb Threats And Attacks Were Done To Make “People Look Bad”

Trump Reportedly Said That Some Anti-Semitic Attacks Were The “Reverse” To Make People Look Bad. According to Buzzfeed News, “Asked about the recent wave of anti-Semitic attacks and threats across the nation, President Trump on Tuesday told a group of state attorneys general that ‘sometimes it’s the reverse,’ Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said of Trump’s comments in his and other officials’ meeting with the president. ‘He just said, ‘Sometimes it’s the reverse, to make people — or to make others — look bad,’ and he used the word ‘reverse’ I would say two to three times in his comments,’ Shapiro said. ‘He did correctly say at the top that it was reprehensible.’” [Buzzfeed News, 2/28/17]

Trump’s Appointee For The White House Office Of Public Liaison And Intergovernmental Affairs Suggested That Democrats Could Be Behind The Bomb Threats To Jewish Community Centers. According a tweet from Anthony Scaramucci, “It’s not yet clear who the #JCC offenders are. Don’t forget @TheDemocrats effort to incite violence at Trump rallies” [Anthony Scaramucci, Twitter, 2/28/17]

Trump Said That The Rise In Anti-Semitic Attacks Were Coming From His Opponents

Trump: “They’ll Do Signs And Drawing That Are Inappropriate. It Won’t Be My People. It Will Be People On The Other Side To Anger People Like You.” According to the Hill, “Trump fired back that the rise in anti-Semitic attacks is coming from his political opponents. ‘This has to do with racism and horrible things being put up. Some of it, written by our opponents,’ Trump said. ‘Do you know that? Do you understand that? You don’t think anybody would do a thing like that. Some of the signs you’ll see are not put up by the people that love or like Donald Trump, they’re put up by the other side and you think it’s like playing it straight? No. But you have some of the signs and some of that anger caused by the other side. They’ll do signs and drawing that are inappropriate. It won’t be my people. It will be people on the other side to anger people like you.’” [The Hill, 2/16/17]

Trump Compared Leaking Intelligence Reports To Nazi Germany

Trump: “Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to ‘leak’ into the public. One last shot at me.Are we living in Nazi Germany?” [Donald J. Trump Twitter, 1/11/17]

Steve Bannon

2011: In An Interview With The Wall Street Journal, Bannon Said He Was A Student Of Leni Riefenstahl. According to the Wall Street Journal, “The montage with pop culture figure attacking Palin that opens ‘The Undefeated’ seems to recall Moore. People have said I’m like Leni Riefenstahl. I’ve studied documentarians extensively to come up with my own in-house style. I’m a student of Michael Moore’s films, of Eisenstein, Riefenstahl. Leave the politics aside, you have to learn from those past masters on how they were trying to communicate their ideas.” [Wall Street Journal, 7/13/11]

Riefenstahl Was Pronounced A Nazi Sympathizer After World War II. “Leni Riefenstahl, the German filmmaker whose daringly innovative documentaries about a Nazi rally in Nuremberg in 1934 and the Berlin Olympics of 1936 earned her both acclaim as a cinematic genius and contempt as a propagandist for Hitler, died Monday night at her home in Pöcking, south of Munich. She was 101. After the defeat of Germany in 1945, she was pronounced a Nazi sympathizer by the Allies and never again found work as a movie director. But her revolutionary film techniques deeply influenced later generations of documentary makers and television commercial makers, keeping alive the debate over whether her talent could be separated from her prewar political views.” [New York Times, 9/9/03]

2012: Bannon Called Members Of The Occupy Wall Street Movement “Brownshirts.” According to CNN, “Steve Bannon, chief strategist to President Donald Trump, repeatedly in 2012 interviews equated the Occupy Wall Street movement to Nazi Brownshirts, the paramilitary group that harassed and instigated violence against opponents. […] In an interview with at the 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference, Bannon argues the media helped the left-wing protesters shift the conversation from deficits and spending towards income inequality. Bannon said you could see this professional left trying to stop people from gathering at CPAC. ‘To see government employee unions, to see union thugs, to see anarchists out there to try to stop people from — which you would never see anybody on the right try to do, to stop people from assembling — you see the violent nature. I gotta tell you, this organized left and what you’re gonna see in the film, is what I consider the Brownshirts.’ ‘I think you see from Occupy Wall Street, you start to see how Brownshirts operated,’ he adds. ‘You start to see it as instrument of intimidation, bully tactics.’” [CNN, 2/7/17]

Donald Trump Jr.

Donald Trump Jr. Said The Press Would Be “Warming Up The Gas Chamber” If Republicans Did What Clinton Did. According to CNN, “‘The media has been her number one surrogate in this. Without the media, this wouldn’t even be a contest. But the media has built her up. They’ve let her slide on every indiscrepancy, on every lie, on every DNC game trying to get Bernie Sanders out of the thing,’ Trump Jr. told Philadelphia-based conservative talk radio host Chris Stigall on Wednesday. ‘I mean, if Republicans were doing that, they’d be warming up the gas chamber right now. It’s a very different system — there’s nothing fair about it,’ Trump Jr. added.” [CNN, 9/15/16]

Sebastian Gorka Was Linked To Anti-Semitism

Associated With Nazi-Allied Group

Gorka Appeared Multiple Times Wearing A Medal From The Hungarian Order Of Heroes, Vitezi Rend, A Group Listed By The State Department As Taking Direct Action From The Nazi Government During WWII. According to LobeLog, “Gorka, who worked in the UK and Hungary before immigrating to the U.S., was photographed at an inaugural ball wearing a medal from the Hungarian Order of Heroes, Vitezi Rend, a group listed by the State Department as taking direction from Germany’s Nazi government during World War II. Gorka did not respond to a request for comment but appeared to be wearing the medal on his chest during the Trump inauguration ball and in an undated photo posted on his Facebook page.” [LobeLog, 2/12/17]

[Photos from LobeLog, 2/12/17]

“Vitezi Rend” Was A “Knightly Order” Where The Title Was Inherited By The Eldest Son Established By Miklós Horthy In 1920 In Hungary. According to LobeLog, “Eva Balogh, founder of the news analysis blog Hungarian Spectrum and former professor of Eastern European History at Yale University, confirmed to LobeLog the identity of the medal worn by Gorka. She said: Yes, the medal is of the ‘vitézi rend’ established by Miklós Horthy in 1920. He, as a mere governor, didn’t have the privilege to ennoble his subjects as the king could do before 1918, and therefore the ‘knightly order’ he established was a kind of compensation for him. Officers and even enlisted men of exceptional valor could become knights. Between 1920 and 1944 there were 23,000 such knights. The title was inheritable by the oldest son. I found information that makes it clear that Gorka’s father, Pál Gorka, used the title. However, since he was born in 1930 he couldn’t himself be the one ‘knighted.’ So, most likely, it was Gorka’s grandfather who was the original recipient Gorka’s PhD dissertation lists his name as ‘Sebestyén L. v. Gorka,’ which suggests that he is carrying on his father’s title, albeit in an abbreviated format, according to Balogh.”  [LobeLog, 2/12/17]

Vitezi Rend Was For Civilian And Military Supporters Of Horthy’s Government Open To Non-Jews Who “Served With Distinction During World War I.” According to LobeLog, “Miklós Horthy, regent of the Kingdom of Hungary from 1920 to 1944, established Vitezi Rend for both civilian and military supporters of Horthy’s government. The group was initially open to non-Jews who served in distinction during World War I.” [LobeLog, 2/12/17]

Horthy Explicitly Endorsed Anti-Semitism. According to LobeLog, “Although Horthy’s personal views about Jews are still debated, he was explicit in endorsing anti-Semitism even while showing some unease with the pace of the Holocaust. In an October 1940 letter to Prime Minister Pál Teleki, Horthy said: As regards the Jewish problem, I have been an anti-Semite throughout my life. I have never had contact with Jews. I have considered it intolerable that here in Hungary everything, every factory, bank, large fortune, business, theatre, press, commerce, etc. should be in Jewish hands, and that the Jew should be the image reflected of Hungary, especially abroad. Since, however, one of the most important tasks of the government is to raise the standard of living, i.e., we have to acquire wealth, it is impossible, in a year or two, to replace the Jews, who have everything in their hands, and to replace them with incompetent, unworthy, mostly big-mouthed elements, for we should become bankrupt. This requires a generation at least.” [LobeLog, 2/12/17]

During WWII, Confiscated Jewish Real Estate In Hungary Was Distributed To Members Of Vitezi Rend. According to Lobelog, “By 1944, Horthy may have sought to distance Hungary from Nazi Germany but agreed to deport around 100,000 Jews. The German army removed Horthy from office after it occupied Hungary. Horthy’s actual awareness of the fate of Hungarian Jews remains unclear. But reports by journalists and the State Department in 1942 are explicit about the role played and benefits enjoyed by Vitezi Rend’s members. A Jewish Telegraph Agency report from October 1942, describes how: Confiscated Jewish real estate in Hungary will be distributed by the government among members of the ‘Hungarian Order of Heroes’ it was announced today over the Budapest radio. The order consists of soldiers who distinguished themselves in the last World War or in the present war.” [LobeLog, 2/12/17]

Vitézi Rend Claimed Gorka As A Member

Leaders Of Vitézi Rend Said Gorka Was A Member. According to Forward, “Sebastian Gorka, President Trump’s top counter-terrorism adviser, is a formal member of a Hungarian far-right group that is listed by the U.S. State Department as having been ‘under the direction of the Nazi Government of Germany’ during World War II, leaders of the organization have told the Forward. The elite order, known as the Vitézi Rend, was established as a loyalist group by Admiral Miklos Horthy, who ruled Hungary as a staunch nationalist from 1920 to October 1944. A self-confessed anti-Semite, Horthy imposed restrictive Jewish laws prior to World War II and collaborated with Hitler during the conflict. His cooperation with the Nazi regime included the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Jews into Nazi hands.” [Forward, 3/16/17]

Leaders Said Gorka Took A “Lifelong Loath Of Loyalty” To Vitézi Rend. According to Forward, “Gorka — who Vitézi Rend leaders say took a lifelong oath of loyalty to their group — did not respond to multiple emails sent to his work and personal accounts, asking whether he is a member of the Vitézi Rend and, if so, whether he disclosed this on his immigration application and on his application to be naturalized as a U.S. citizen in 2012. The White House also did not respond to a request for comment.” [Forward, 3/16/17]

The “Historical Vitézi Rend” Upheld All The Nationalist And Oftentimes Racial Principles Of The Original Viténzi Rend. According to Forward, “The group to which Gorka reportedly belongs is a reconstitution of the original group on the State Department list, which was banned in Hungary until the fall of Communism in 1989. There are now two organizations in Hungary that claim to be the heirs of the original Vitézi Rend, with Gorka, according to fellow members, belonging to the so-called ‘Historical Vitézi Rend.’ Though it is not known to engage in violence, the Historical Vitézi Rend upholds all the nationalist and oftentimes racial principles of the original group as established by Horthy.” [Forward, 3/16/17]

Gorka Used An Initial In His Name Used By Members Of The Vitézi Rend. According to Forward, “Several commentators also noted that in his 2008 doctoral dissertation at Hungary’s Corvinus University, Gorka presented his name as Sebastian L. v. Gorka. The ‘v.’ is an initial used by members of the Vitézi Rend. But Gorka did not use the initial only in academic papers. In June 2011, Gorka testified in front of the House Armed Services Committee. His official testimony did not list his name as Sebastian L. Gorka, but rather as Dr. Sebastian L. v. Gorka. ‘Of course, only after the oath,’ György Kerekes, a current member of the Vitézi Rend, told the Forward when asked if anyone may use the initial ‘v.’ without going through the Vitézi Rend’s application process and an elaborate swearing-in ceremony.” [Forward, 3/16/17]

Leaders Of Vitezi Rend Expressed Pride In Sebastian Gorka’s Wearing Of Their Medal

A Spokesman For Vitezi Rend Said He Was “Proud” When He Saw Sebastian Gorka Wearing A Medal Associated With The Group. According to Forward, “Leaders of a Hungarian far-right wing group that colloborated with the Nazis said they were ‘proud’ to see controversial White House aide Sebastian Gorka wearing the group’s medal — and political allies and rivals alike said they believe he is a member of the group. ‘When he appeared on U.S. television … with the medal … it made me really proud,’ Vitezi Rend spokesman Andras Horvath told NBC News in the Hungarian capital of Budapest.” [Forward, 4/9/17]

Worked With Anti-Semitic Groups In Hungary

2006: Gorka Worked With László Toroczkai Who Was Editor Of A Paper Which In 2004 Called Jews “Galician Upstarts” And Advocated For “[Taking] Back Our Country From Them, [Taking] Back Our Stolen Fortunes.” According to Forward, “During large-scale anti-government demonstrations in Hungary in 2006, Gorka took on an active role, becoming closely involved with a protest group called the Hungarian National Committee (Magyar Nemzeti Bizottság). Gorka took on the roles of translator, press coordinator and adviser for the group. Among the four Committee members named as the group’s political representatives was László Toroczkai, then head of the 64 Counties Youth Movement. Toroczkai founded that group in 2001 to advocate for the return of parts of modern-day Serbia, Slovakia, Romania and Ukraine to form a Greater Hungary, restoring the country’s pre-World War I borders. In 2004, two years before the Movement’s involvement in the 2006 protests, Hungarian authorities opened an investigation into the Movement’s newspaper, Magyar Jelen, when an article referred to Jews as ‘Galician upstarts’ and went on to argue: ‘We should get them out. In fact, we need to take back our country from them, take back our stolen fortunes. After all, these upstarts are sucking on our blood, getting rich off our blood.’ At the time of the article’s publication, Toroczkai was both an editor at the paper and the Movement’s official leader. Toroczkai currently serves as vice president of Jobbik and is the mayor of a village near the border Hungary shares with Serbia. Last year, he gained notoriety in the West for declaring a goal of banning Muslims and gays from his town.” [Forward, 2/24/17]

2007: Gorka Established A New Political Party In Hungary With Two Members Who Were Members Of Jobbik, A Political Party With A Long History Of Anti-Semitism. According to Forward, “Gorka co-founded his political party with three other politicians. Two of his co-founders, Tamás Molnár and Attila Bégány, were former members of Jobbik. Molnár, a senior Jobbik politician, served as the party’s vice president until shortly before joining Gorka’s new initiative, and was also a member of the Hungarian National Committee during the 2006 protests, issuing statements together with extremist militant figures such as Toroczkai. Jobbik has a long history of anti-Semitism. In 2006, when Gorka’s political allies were still members of Jobbik, articles in the party’s official online blog included headlines such as ‘The Roots of Jewish Terrorism’ and ‘Where Were the Jews in 1956?’, a reference to the country’s revolution against Soviet rule. In one speech in 2010, Jobbik leader Gabor Vona said that ‘under communism we licked Moscow’s boots, now we lick Brussels’ and Washington’s and Tel Aviv’s.’” [Forward, 2/24/17]

Called Criticism Of White House’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day “Asinine”

Gorka Called Criticism Of The White House’s Omission Of Jews Or Anti-Semitism From Its Statement Marking The Holocaust’s International Day Of Remembrance “Asinine.”  According to CNN, “Earlier in the interview, Gorka was asked by Medved whether he would acknowledge that the administration’s controversial statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day was ‘at least questionable in being the first such statement in many years that didn’t recognize that Jewish extermination was the chief goal of the Holocaust.’ Gorka replied by calling criticism of the statement ‘asinine,’ arguing that it was motivated by the media’s desire to attack Trump. ‘It’s a Holocaust remembrance statement,’ Gorka said. ‘No, I’m not going to admit it. Because it’s asinine. It’s absurd. You’re making a statement about the Holocaust. Of course it’s about the Holocaust because that’s what the statement’s about. It’s only reasonable to twist it if your objective is to attack the President.’” [CNN, 2/7/17]

Gorka Supported A Violent Anti-Semitic Militia

2007: Gorka Said He Supported The Move By Jobbik To Establish A Militia Which Was Later Condemned By The European Court Of Human Rights. According to Forward, “In a video obtained by the Forward of an August 2007 television appearance by Gorka, the future White House senior aide explicitly affirms his party’s and his support for the black-vested Hungarian Guard (Magyar Gárda) — a group later condemned by the European Court of Human Rights for attempting to promote an ‘essentially racist’ legal order. Asked directly on the TV interview program if he supports the move by Jobbik, a far-right anti-Semitic party, to establish the militia, Gorka, appearing as a leader of his own newly formed party, replies immediately, ‘That is so.’ The Guard, Gorka explains, is a response to ‘a big societal need.’” [Forward, 4/3/17]

Ben Carson

2014: Ben Carson Compared The United States To Nazi Germany And Said “If You Believe That Same Thing Can’t Happen Again, You’re Very Wrong.” According to the Huffington Post, “Carson then likened the status quo to Germany under Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, teeing up what he later implied was the choice facing voters in the 2014 midterm elections. ‘There comes a time when people with values simply have to stand up. Think about Nazi Germany,’ he said. ‘Most of those people did not believe in what Hitler was doing. But did they speak up? Did they stand up for what they believe in? They did not, and you saw what happened.’ ‘And if you believe that same thing can’t happen again, you’re very wrong,’ Carson added. ‘But we’re not going to let it happen.’” [Huffington Post, 2/10/14]

2015: Carson: “I Think The Likelihood Of Hitler Being Able To Accomplish His Goals Would Have Been Greatly Diminished If The People Had Been Armed.” According to CNN, “Carson was referencing remarks Thursday on CNN that the Holocaust would have been less deadly had more people in Europe been armed. ‘I think the likelihood of Hitler being able to accomplish his goals would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed,’ he told Wolf Blitzer when asked if there were no gun-control laws in Germany would that have prevented the murder of 6 million Jews. ‘I’m telling you there is a reason these dictatorial people take the guns first.’” [CNN, 10/9/15]

Published: Apr 11, 2017

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