Trump and the Republicans love to talk about the “war on Christmas” as if Christians are some oppressed minority in the United States rather than the largest religious group in the country.
They trot out the same talking points every year, railing against the phrase “happy holidays” and lamenting the loss of Christian hegemony in the public discourse. It’s the kind of regressive, pining-for-the-past, anti-diversity hogwash that the makes up the lifeblood of the GOP. By turning Christmas into part of the culture war, they keep their base incensed and frothing.
There’s a particular bitterness to the rhetoric this year though. Pretending that Christians are oppressed in the United States the same year that Nazis marched openly in the streets and hate crimes against Jewish people spiked sharply is tone deaf at best, insidious at worst. The holidays this year, more than ever, needed to be a time for the White House to lead people of all faiths in coming together in celebration.
Instead, Trump has decided to take aim Hannukah and turn it into a tawdry political stunt. Newsweek reports that Trump has decided not to invite any Jewish Congressional Democrats to the White House’s Hannukah party. It’s a petty, pathetic move that demonstrates just how deeply Trump resents Democrats for sticking up for the oppressed and trying to block his destructive agenda.
“Why would you make partisan decisions about invitations that are entirely not partisan? Hanukkah is something that’s important to all Jews; the tradition is to invite the Jewish members of Congress. My feelings certainly aren’t hurt by not being invited but the few opportunities that we do have to come together certainly should include a celebration like Hanukkah,” Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) said to McClatchy News.
Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY) added that ever since the Christmas Hannukah celebration began in 2001 it has been an intentionally nonpartisan event. She said it’s unfortunate that Trump has allowed partisanship to affect such a long, celebrated tradition.
Of the thirty Jewish members of Congress, a mere 2 of them are Republican. Trump would rather keep out almost every single Jewish Representative then be forced to invite Democrats. It’s one of the clearest sign yet that his overblown ego makes it impossible for him to separate the personal from the political. The New York Times reports that only 300 guests total were invited this year. In years past, there were two Hannukah parties, with a combined invite list of 1,700.
The White House refused to acknowledge their pettiness. “I am not aware of the political affiliation of any of the guests, but I do know that this year was meant to be more personal than political,” Stephanie Grisham, a spokeswoman for Melania Trump, told the Times. The First Lady is in charge of planning parties and came under harsh criticism recently for excluding LGBT and black reporters from the White House Christmas party invite list.
Members of progressive Jewish groups were also excluded, including those who criticized the president’s recent controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel or those who supported President Obama’s Iran deal.
Trump has no interest in unifying the country. He actively tries to stoke our racial, political, and cultural divides because he knows it’s the only way he can maintain power. It’s just the latest demonstration of how incredibly unfit he is to hold office.