Nine years ago, President Obama gave a memorable acceptance speech. His message was heartfelt, and left an indelible mark in the memory of all Americans. He specifically referenced Americans who didn’t vote for him, and said “I’ll be your President too!”
It was an attempt by Obama to unite the country, and make a concerted effort to begin the process of healing after a contentious election.
President Trump has done the opposite. Instead of trying to unite the country he has intentionally worked to divide and alienate “liberals” and people who didn’t support him. He has gone so far as to actually encourage violence.
In keeping with this divisive spirit, Trump used the Hannukah Celebration at the White House as a time to promote those who support his policies, and punish those who disagree with him.
Mr. Trump, who prizes loyalty and seldom forgets a slight, left Democratic members of Congress off his Hanukkah list this year, according to congressional aides tracking the invites. He also did not invite Reform Jewish leaders who have been critical of him or progressive Jewish activists who have differed with him publicly on policy issues.
The move injected a partisan tinge into a normally bipartisan celebration at the White House, where on Thursday Mr. Trump spoke to a crowd standing amid Christmas trees.
Among those who did not make the cut were Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the president of the Union for Reform Judaism, who in August criticized Mr. Trump for his handling of the neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville, Va. On Wednesday, Rabbi Jacobs said the president should not have made his declaration about Jerusalem, arguing that it could undermine the chances of achieving peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
Officials from J Street, a progressive pro-Israel group that strongly backed Mr. Obama and the nuclear deal he forged with Iran — which was detested by many conservative Jews — were excluded.
Mr. Trump’s young grandchildren, who are Jewish, lit a menorah to mark the occasion.
This year’s Hanukkah party was all the more joyous for attendees because it came the day after Mr. Trump delighted many Jews, particularly those politically allied with him, by declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel and recommitting himself to moving the American Embassy there.
Regardless of your views regarding Palestine, and the location of the American Embassy, Trump attitudes toward Jews who disagree with him is making the issues of disagreement more intractable, rather than working for compromise. Instead of working toward a peaceful resolution, Trump promotes discord.
Trump’s response to a question about anti-antisemitism is a perfect example of the obvious attitudes of Donald Trump.
His disdain for Reform Jews, who might hold views different than those of Jared Kushner, a conservative Jew, is something of which Trump seems to be proud.