U.S. President Donald Trump hosted a White House Hanukkah reception on Thursday night, focusing celebrating his decision Wednesday to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. As Trump entered the event, his first words were - "I know there are a lot of happy people here, Jerusalem," to a roaring applause from the crowd, a relatively small one compared to past White House Hannukah events.
In a speech at the event, Trump spoke about the story of Hannukah and expressed his "love" for Israel and the Jewish people, whom he called "a light upon the nations." He said this year the holiday is "all about Jerusalem," and also said that this specific Hannukah "will go down as especially special."
The crowd at the event did not include any Democratic members of Congress or leaders of the Reform Movement, and many of those in attendance were Orthodox Jewish supporters of the President. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer was present, however, who is affiliated with the Democratic Party.
Trump lit a menorah with his Jewish grandchildren, whom he briefly mentioned in his speech. He was also accompanied on stage by Louise Lawrence-Israel, a Holocaust survivor originally from the Netherlands, who shared the story of childhood under Nazi Germany's rule, saying that "people let this happen. We cannot let that happen again. Hatred and prejudice should not have a place in the world.”
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