White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Tuesday said that no matter how many times U.S. President Donald Trump condemns anti-Semitism, "it's never good enough."
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Responding to a question about the Anne Frank Center's statement that called Trump's denunciation "pathetic asterisk of condension," Spicer said Trump "has been very forceful with his denunciation of people who seek to attack people because of their religion, gender... [or] the color of their skin."
"[I]t's ironic that no matter how many times he talks about this that it's never good enough," Spicer said.
Earlier on Tuesday, Trump broke his silence and delivered his first condemnation of Jewish hate crimes since taking office. Asked if he's denouncing anti-Semitism "once and for all," Trump answered "Yes. Of course. Where ever I get a chance I do it."
"Anti-Semitism is horrible and it's gonna stop and it's got to stop," the U.S. president told NBC News's Craig Melvin.
In his answer, Spicer characterized Trump's statement, as "an unbelievably forceful comment... as far as his denunciation of the actions currently targeting Jewish community centers, but I think he has been very clear previous to this that he wants to be somebody that brings this country together not divide people especially in those areas."
"I wish that they [the Anne Frank Center] had praised the president for his leadership in this area," Spicer said, "and I think that hopefully as time goes by they recognize his commitment to civil rights, to voting rights, to equality for all Americans."
Oddly, Spicer managed to answer the question without using the words "anti-Semitism," "Jews," and only using the word "Jewish" once when referring to "Jewish community centers."
Since assuming office, Trump has avoided straightforward and specific denunciations of hate crimes against Jews when asked about them over the past week at two separate press conferences. Last Thursday, the president berated a Jewish reporter for asking him about the uptick in anti-Semitic threats, interpreting it as an accusation that he himself was anti-Semitic saying it was a “very insulting question.”
Trump's remarks came after a wave of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States. More than 100 headstones were damaged at a Jewish cemetery near St. Louis, Missouri, sparking a police investigation on the same day that several Jewish community centers across the country received bomb threats.