“We have to have a safe country,” Donald Trump told MSNBC’s Craig Melvin at the National Museum of African American History while answering the third question in a week about hate crimes aimed at Jews in America. “It’s age-old,” Trump says, “there’s just something going on that doesn’t allow it to fully heal.” More broadly on bigotry and racism, Trump praised the museum for its work, and most of all its success:
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) February 21, 2017
— NBC News (@NBCNews) February 21, 2017
Politico has more of Trump’s direct response:
President Donald Trump on Tuesday decried anti-Semitism, calling it “horrible” and pledging to put an end to it.
“I will tell you that anti-Semitism is horrible and it’s gonna stop and it has to stop,” Trump told MSNBC’s Craig Melvin during a visit to the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Asked directly if he was denouncing anti-Semitism “once and for all,” Trump responded in the affirmative.
“Oh, of course,” he said. “And I do it — wherever I get a chance, I do it.”
Trump also managed to fit it a supporting statement for his upcoming revised executive order on visa and refugee entry. “This building is about love,” Trump tells Melvin, “and we have to have people come in that are going to love the country.”
Let’s call this an example of the third time being the charm. The first two public occasions where the media asked questions about anti-Semitic attacks rising around the country, Trump took the questions personally as a criticism of his supporters. This time he took the question on a straightforward basis and offered a simple response that condemns those attacks. Interestingly, it was the explicitly progressive channel MSNBC that got the best response, perhaps a reflection of the venue in which it was asked. Undoubtedly the White House prepared for that question in this venue, and Trump’s answer demonstrates that preparation can pay off.
Note: This post has been expanded as a breaking news item.
Update: Better clip from MSNBC added to the main post, and Ivanka Trump also sent out a message last night about the need to oppose anti-Semitism:
America is a nation built on the principle of religious tolerance. We must protect our houses of worship & religious centers. #JCC
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) February 20, 2017
That was received by the Left about as well as you’d expect.