While U.S. President Donald Trump drew praises for his speech, which notably spoke out against hate, the head of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect was less than impressed, citing the administration's silence amid several waves of anti-Semitic attacks and threats.
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Trump's speech was described as wrapping "the poison of prejudice in the veneer of cotton candy."
"After weeks of our organization's having to plead, cajole and criticize this President to speak out against anti-Semitism, we give him credit for doing the right thing tonight by beginning his speech to address anti-Semitism," Steven Goldstein, the Anne Frank Center's executive director, wrote in reaction to Trump's address to Congress on Monday. "But his suddenly dulcet tones weren't matched by substantive kindness."
Goldstein noted, "the president didn't say exactly what he would do to fight anti-Semitism – how could he have stayed so vague? We've endured weeks of anti-Semitic attacks across America and we didn't hear a single proposal from the president tonight to stop them."
He also took issue with Trump reiterating his "racist plan" to build a wall on the border with Mexico, and took the president to task for "terrorizing immigrants" and reiterating "his lying demonization of Muslims as terrorists as an excuse to curtail religious freedom."
Goldstein asserted that on balance, Trump's speech "failed to heal a nation torn asunder by the divisiveness of his early reign of error."