President Donald Trump made one of his most direct statements against anti-Semitism yet in a interview Tuesday.
“I do all the time. I do all the time,” Trump told MSNBC’s Craig Melvin, asked if he would denounce anti-Semitism.
“I think it’s terrible. I think it’s horrible, whether it’s anti-Semitism or racism or anything you want to think about having to do with the divide. Anti-Semitism is likewise, it’s just terrible,” Trump said at the National African-American History Museum in Washington. “You don’t know where it’s coming from but I certainly hope they catch the people. I think you maybe have had it for longer than people think and maybe it gets brought up a little bit more but I will tell you that anti-Semitism is horrible and it’s going to stop and it has to stop.”
“You are denouncing once and for all?” Melvin asked.
“Oh, Of course,” Trump responded. “And I do it — Wherever I get a chance, I do it.”
The comment followed a new wave of bomb threats against Jewish community centers nationwide. And over the weekend, dozens of tombstones in a Jewish cemetery in Missouri were vandalized.
The White House released a statement Monday denouncing “hate-motivated violence of any kind,” but did not reference anti-Semitism specifically.
Asked about the bomb threats during a press conference last week, Trump did not address the threats, and rejected the journalist asking about them out of hand.
“I am the least anti-Semitic person that you’ve ever seen in your entire life,” he said.
“I hate the charge. I find it repulsive. I hate even the question because people that know me— And you heard the prime minister, you heard Netanyahu yesterday, did you hear him,” Trump said, referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“Bibi, he said, ‘I’ve known Donald Trump for a long time.’ And then he said, ‘Forget it.'”
In remarks at the museum later Tuesday morning, Trump referenced the threats and vandalism directly.
“The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible and are painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil,” he said.
Watch part of the exchange below, via MSNBC:
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) February 21, 2017