Trump honors pastor who said Jews are doomed to hell at Hannukah event


In addition to smearing Jews, Pastor Robert Jeffress has attacked LGBTQ people, Mormons, and Muslims.

Donald Trump invited right-wing Pastor Robert Jeffress to the White House Hanukkah event on Wednesday despite Jeffress' history of bigoted remarks against multiple faith groups, including Jews.

The event was billed by the White House as "a Hanukkah Reception."

"What a tremendous faith leader you are, a tremendous man you are," Trump said, singling Jeffress out from the stage. A few minutes later, Trump asked Jeffress to come up on stage with him and deliver remarks.

"Robert Jeffress, I didn't know him but I watched him, I watched him on the different shows and I said, 'I like that guy, man he talks really great about me' and I like people that talk well about me," said Trump.

"I believe President Trump is the most pro-faith president in history when you look at what he has done for people of all faiths," said Jeffress.

"Mr. President, Jewish and Christian believers alike believe what God said to Abraham in Genesis 12, that God would bless those who bless Israel and he would curse those who curse Israel and I want to thank you, Mr. President, for being the kind of president who has the courage to stand up and be, when it comes to Israel, on the right side of history but most importantly you're on the right side of God and that's why you are not going to fail and we're going to stand behind you."

In a 2011 speech to the conservative Values Voters Summit, Jeffress attacked Judaism.

"Judaism, you can't be saved being a Jew, you know who said that by the way, the three greatest Jews in the New Testament, Peter, Paul, and Jesus Christ, they all said Judaism won't do it, it's faith in Jesus Christ," said Jeffress.

That year the Anti-Defamation League called on political campaigns to shun Jeffress, citing his smear of the Mormon faith as a "cult" and description of then-Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney as someone who is not "truly a believer in Christ."

"We urge each of the Republican candidates to use the upcoming debates as an opportunity to reject appeals for votes based on religion as offensive and anathema to the values of religious diversity we hold dear," said the ADL in a release, directly rebuking Jeffress.

Jeffress has also attacked LGBTQ Americans, describing them as "immoral" and leading a "wrong lifestyle that is a sign of the coming "apocalypse." He said LGBTQ people were engaged in activities that are "so degrading that it is beyond description" and said they were linked to pedophilia, a long since debunked bigoted smear.

Jeffress has also described Islam as an "evil" and "violent" faith that "promotes pedophilia."

Trump and his administration, for their part, have often made similarly tone-deaf actions with regard to the Jewish faith.

Just a few days ago, Jewish groups had to call out Trump for "vile and bigoted" anti-Semitic remarks while speaking to the Israeli American Council. Trump told those in attendance that they "had no choice" but to vote for him because Sen. Elizabeth Warren has proposed a wealth tax on those worth more than $50 million.

Last year, days after the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, Mike Pence appeared at an event with a Messianic Christian calling himself a rabbi. The man, Loren Jacobs, is part of the group Jews for Jesus, which is not Jewish and has been condemned by Jewish leaders as anti-Jewish group.

Similarly, in a 2017 press release on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Trump administration omitted mention of the Jewish people or anti-Semitism. When confronted on the glaring omission, then-White House spokesperson Hope Hicks claimed the oversight had occurred because the Trump team wanted to be "incredibly inclusive."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.