Jewish Democrats strongly criticized on Monday a Republican presidential candidate's choice of a museum honoring auto pioneer Henry Ford to launch officially his presidential campaign. The critics were angered by Ford's history of anti-Semitism.
Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, who has scheduled the formal announcement of his candidacy on Tuesday from the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit, was taken to task by the National Jewish Democratic Council.
The council is deeply troubled by Governor Romney's choice of locations to announce his presidential campaign, executive director Ira Forman said in a statement.
Romney has been traveling the country talking about inclusiveness and understanding of people from all walks of life, Forman said. Yet he chooses to kick (off) his presidential campaign on the former estate of a well-known and outspoken anti-Semite and xenophobe.
Forman said Romney's embrace of Henry Ford and association of Ford's legacy with his presidential campaign raises serious questions about either the sincerity of Romney's words or his understanding of basic American history.
Ford was bestowed with the Grand Service Cross of the Supreme Order of the German Eagle by Adolf Hitler.
Eric Fehrnstrom, a spokesman for Romney, said the candidate will go ahead with his announcement as planned.
Governor Romney believes our country needs to put innovation at the forefront if we are to ensure a stronger, safer and more prosperous America, Fehrnstrom said. The Ford Museum embodies that bold, innovative spirit.
Fehrnstrom noted that other political leaders have praised Ford in the past, including former President Bill Clinton, a Democrat.