Donald Trump and the Melania put on a loved up display Thursday while attending Hanukkah ceremonies at the White House.
The president and first lady held hands and smiled at one another throughout the evening, and he playfully shook her hand while giving a speech at the podium in front of Holocaust survivors.
Trump’s daughter Ivanka, formerly a member of the Presbyterian church, converted to Judaism in 2009, the year she married Jared Kushner.
The audience cheered when Trump spoke about his decision last December to formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city and also move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.
He welcomed eight Holocaust survivors to the White House in his address, playfully saying of one of the women, ‘She looks so young.’ She told him off mic that ‘she’s not’ as he teased that she is ‘young at heart.’
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive to host a Hanukkah reception at the White House in Washington on December 6, 2018
Trump playfully shook her hand while giving a speech at the podium in front of Holocaust survivors
The Trumps stand together as they attend the ceremony in front of Holocaust survivors in the White House
Trump speaks during a Hanukkah reception in the East Room of the White House on December 6, 2018
He promised to protect the Jewish nation from the threat posed by Iran and reminded them that he had followed through on a promise to move the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
‘It was a horrible, horrible deal. It should have never been made,’ he said of the Iran nuclear deal that he abandoned this year. ‘And imposed the toughest ever sanctions. We sanctioned Iran, I guess, like no one has ever been sanctioned before.’
Trump asserted, ‘We must never allow Iran to acquire a nuclear bomb. We cannot let the world’s leading sponsor of terror, a country that chants “death to America” and threatens Israel all of the time with annihilation and constantly screams out ‘death to Israel’ to possess the deadliest weapon on Earth. We will not allow that to happen.’
The kept promise led to chants of ‘Four More Years!’ even though Trump has a potential six years in office before him.
‘That is actually six more,’ he said, echoing an audience member who made the point. ‘I’ve actually never heard four more years — that’s an interesting one. We’ll go for six, and then we’ll all be in very good shape.’
The president’s address was enthusiastically received, especially by one attendee standing near Trump who shrieked throughout the president’s remarks.
The president acknowledged the ‘horrific tragedy’ at a synagogue as he led the celebration, five weeks after a deadly attack on Jewish Americans.
‘Fourteen — 11 — Jewish Americans were brutally murdered in a sinister anti-Semitic attack on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh,’ the president said, stopping to correct himself after an attendee made him aware that he’d incorrectly stated the death toll.
The president noted that he and Melania visited Pittsburgh to pay their respects.
Trump said congregants ‘were incredible people, the way they stood up so bravely, so proudly’ and defended their faith.
‘In the aftermath of that wicked assault, we reaffirmed our solemn duty to confront anti-Semitism everywhere it occurs,’ Trump declared. ‘We must stamp out this vile hatred from the world.’
Trump acknowledged the ‘horrific tragedy’ at a synagogue on Thursday as he led a Hanukkah celebration at the White House five weeks after a deadly attack on Jewish Americans
Melania Trump and Donald Trump enter the East Room of the White House for the celebration
SHOUT OUT FOR JARED: Trump mentioned Kushner and told attendees, ‘I’m sure none of you have ever heard that name before’
Melania Trump greets guests as she appears with President Trump at the Hanukkah reception
Trump’s kept promises to Israel led to chants of ‘Four More Years!’ even though Trump has a potential six years in office before him
Trump said that the Jewish people have suffered ‘unthinkable repression’ and endured ‘horrific violence’ and yet they continue to thrive.
‘Thrived like few, that I can tell you,’ the president stated. ‘Thrived.’
Although it was a celebration of the Jewish faith, it was also a solemn occasion at times as Trump remembered the fallen, including the 11 Jewish Americans who were massacred at their Pennsylvania synagogue.
Tree of Life hosted a public lighting of its Hanukkah menorah in Pittsburgh on Sunday evening that doubled as a memorial service.
‘To me, it’s a simple message: The light is the message,’ Rabbi Jeffrey Myers said as he stood in front of a makeshift memorial for the 11 victims of the October massacre.
Myers was leading the Shabbat ceremony at Tree of Life when the Oct. 27 shooting occurred.
Tree of Life hosted a public lighting of its Hanukkah menorah in Pittsburgh on Sunday evening
Nearly 500 people gathered outside the house of worship to honor the dead and celebrate the beginning of Hanukkah on Sunday evening.
‘We are practicing our Jewish faith publicly and proudly,’ Stephen Cohen, co-president of New Light synagogue, said at the menorah lighting ceremony.
The White House’s annual celebration was delayed as the nation grieved former President George H.W. Bush, who was on his way by locomotive to his final resting place on Thursday night.
Trump paid tribute to Bush at the Hanukkah celebration at the White House, calling him a ‘wonderful man’ and an ‘American patriot.’
He said the state funeral he attended for Bush on Wednesday at the National Cathedral was a ‘beautiful tribute’ to the ex-president who died at the age of 94 on Friday.
‘We will always remember this great statesman,’ the sitting president said. ‘He really was very special.’