Trump hosts Hanukkah reception at White House

Former President George W. Bush released his first medical records as president on August 4, 2001 and former President Obama released his records for the first time on February 28, 2010.

Facing global isolation for recognising Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, the White House yesterday defended President Donald Trump's decision, asserting that it was a reflection of the ground realities and the United States was committed to the Middle East peace process. "And the world is watching", Trump said.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of Veteran Affairs David Schulman and Trump's special Middle East peace envoy Jason Greenblatt, who are all Jewish, also attended.

Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University and a close Trump adviser, said he had never talked to the president about the issue but had received emails from other leading evangelicals in the past several days "asking me to support this or tweet that, and try to get the word out". "We are proud to stand with the people of Israel and to renew our enduring bond".

"Right now I'm thinking about what's going on and the love that's all over Israel and all about Jerusalem", Trump said in the White House East Room.

Although the blessings he recited are traditionally said on the first night of Hanukkah, Rabbi Soloveichik noted, "We can say it now because of the joyous tithings that we have just received".

Trump noticeably mispronounced "states", when concluding an address to the nation on his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Soloveichik, who gave the invocation at the opening session of the 2012 Republican National Convention, thanked Trump for "recognizing what we've all always known to be true", and led the Hannukah blessings and prayers.

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".

  • Tracy Klein