President Donald Trump failed to invite Jewish Congressional Democrats to the White House’s annual Hanukkah party on Thursday night, demonstrating that Washington partisanship can poison even the most benign religious holidays.
The decision shocked some Jewish Democrats, who observed that previous presidents had invited members of the opposing party to religious holiday parties.
“Why would you make partisan decisions about invitations that are entirely not partisan?” Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) told McClatchy News. “Hanukkah is something that’s important to all Jews; the tradition is to invite the Jewish members of Congress.
More from the New York Times:
Mr. Trump, who prizes loyalty and seldom forgets a slight, 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. “I know for a fact there are a lot of happy people in this room,” Mr. Trump said to raucous whoops and applause, adding simply, “Jerusalem.”
He wished those assembled a Happy Hanukkah, then said, “I think this one will go down as especially special.”
US President Donald Trump hosts a Hanukkah reception at the White House pic.twitter.com/UFHwsGXEeD
— AFP news agency (@AFP) December 8, 2017