There's no vengeful slight that Trump isn't willing to make, even if that means demeaning holiday parties.
Once again finding a way to turn a traditionally collegial, bipartisan event into a petty display of partisanship, Donald Trump banned Jewish Democrats from attending the White House’s annual Hanukkah ceremony this year.
“It’s deeply unfortunate that the White House Hanukkah Party — a bipartisan event bringing together Jewish and non-Jewish leaders alike to celebrate the Festival of Lights since 2001 — has turned into a partisan affair under this administration,” Rep. Nita M. Lowey of New York said in a statement.
That meant the only two Jewish representatives who attended the ceremony were the two Republicans in Congress, Rep. Zee Zeldin of New York and Rep. David Kustoff of Tennessee.
The annual event was scaled back in a huge way this year, with the White House cutting the party guest list down from 1,700 people to just 300, according to The New York Times.
He also excluded progressive Jewish leaders and activists who have been critical of him. American Jews are overwhelmingly Democratic and progressive. In 2016, 71 percent voted for Hillary Clinton over Trump.
The unsightly snub comes at a time when the White House is supposed to be working alongside Democrats in an effort to find a way to keep the government from shutting down in coming weeks. Banning Jewish Democratic members from parties seems like a strange way to build trust.
The unseemly rebuff is part of two larger trends unfolding at the Trump White House. One is to turn White House events into petty displays of partisan resentment.
Two weeks ago, when Trump was supposed to honor Native American who helped break Nazi codes during World War II, Trump instead used the opportunity to unfurl a racist slur against a Democratic senator who wasn’t even in attendance.
Secondly, Trump banned Jewish Democrats from a traditionally bipartisan event the same week he created a storm of controversy for wanting to essentially stage a photo-op at the civil rights museum opening in Mississippi on Saturday.
The NAACP has called on him to pull out of the event, with Derrick Johnson, head of the famed civil rights group, saying Trump’s attendance would be “an affront to the veterans of the civil rights movement.”
Additionally, John Lewis, civil rights hero and Democratic congressman from Georgia, has dropped out of the event, along with Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS).
In a joint statement, the two men pointed to Trump’s planned attendance. “President Trump’s attendance and his hurtful policies are an insult to the people portrayed in this civil rights museum,” they wrote.
Trump’s presidency has been defined, in part, by his ugly, public embrace of bigotry, from attacking professional football players for expressing their First Amendment right via silent sideline protests, to defending white nationalists after they rampaged in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Whoever thought holiday parties and museum openings would be turned into causes of political rancor?
Behold the ugly Trump era.