Trump at Yad Vashem

Screengrab via WhiteHouse/YouTube

Trump criticized for note he wrote in Holocaust memorial’s ‘book of remembrance’

Other presidents and U.S. officials wrote much longer notes.


Andrew Wyrich


Posted on May 23, 2017   Updated on May 24, 2021, 1:30 pm CDT

Like several U.S. lawmakers before him, President Donald Trump visited Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial, on Monday and left a note in the museum’s “book of remembrance.”

Unlike those before him, Trump’s note was less than profound.

“It is a great honor to be here with all my friends—so amazing and will never forget!” Trump wrote.

The one sentence note is starkly different than other U.S. leaders who had visited the museum, including former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who invoked passion—or at the very least religion—in their notes.

When Obama visited the museum in 2008, he said the Holocaust museum was a reminder of society’s “capacity to rise up from tragedy and remake our world.”

Obama’s full note read:

“I am grateful to Yad Vashem and all of those responsible for this remarkable institution. At a time of great peril and promise, war and strife, we are blessed to have such a powerful reminder of man’s potential for great evil, but also our capacity to rise up from tragedy and remake our world. Let our children come here, and know this history, so that they can add their voices to proclaim ‘never again.’ And may we remember those who perished, not only a victims, but also as individuals who hoped and loved and dreamed likes us, and who have become symbols of the human spirit.”

Meanwhile, Clinton, making her first trip to the Middle East as secretary of state in 2009, also wrote a long note in the book of remembrance.

“Yad Vashem is a testament to the power of truth in the face of denial, the resilience of the human spirit in the face of despair, the triumph of the Jewish people over murder and destruction and reminder to all people that the lessons of the Holocaust must never be forgotten. God bless Israel and its future,” she wrote.

Bush visited Yad Vashem in 2008, and while brief, he did appear to have more passion while writing his note.

“God bless Israel,” the former president wrote.

Bush was “teary-eyed” looking at photos of Auschwitz at the museum, according to USA Today.

During his trip to the museum, Trump called the Holocaust “the most savage crime against God and his children and it is our solemn duty to mourn every life that was so viciously taken.”

However, some people criticized the length of Trump’s visit at the museum, which reportedly was only 30 minutes.

Zohar Segev, a faculty member at the University of Haifa, told the Associated Press that while he didn’t think Trump’s team meant any offense by only being at Yad Vashem for a short time, he did think they did not take into account the sensitivity of what the museum represents.

“There is a lack of professionalism of the new administration,” Segev told the news agency. “Anyone who understands the significance of the Holocaust in Israel and in America would not make a move like this.”


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*First Published: May 23, 2017, 10:40 am CDT