The White House released a statement Friday commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a worldwide day of reflection and remembrance for the millions of lives lost in the Holocaust.
The statement makes clear mention of the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust, a notable difference with last year's statement, which was criticized for not mentioning Jews or anti-Semitism.
First lady Melania Trump visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum on Thursday
The White House drew criticism last year for omitting mention of the 6 million Jews killed or anti-Semitism
"Tomorrow marks the 73rd anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Nazi death and concentration camp in Poland. We take this opportunity to recall the Nazis' systematic persecution and brutal murder of 6 million Jewish people," the statement reads, calling the Nazi rule "inhumane" and "brutal" and highlighting the other persecuted groups who were killed by the Nazi regime, such as gays, Slavs and others.
Last year, when asked about the omission of Jews from the statement, current White House communications director Hope Hicks told CNN's Jake Tapper that "despite what the media reports, we are an incredibly inclusive group, and we took into account all of those who suffered."
Asked if the White House was suggesting President Donald Trump didn't mention Jews as victims of the Holocaust because he didn't want to offend the other people the Nazis targeted and killed, Hicks replied, "it was our honor to issue a statement in remembrance of this important day."
Trump, whose daughter Ivanka converted to Judaism and who has Jewish grandchildren, came under fire during his first year in office after a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, deteriorated into violent clashes between white supremacists and protestors. In a new conference after a white supremacist rammed a car into a crowd, killing a protester, the President said that there were "very fine people on both sides" of the clashes.
While Trump held bilateral meetings with world leaders in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday, first lady Melania Trump stayed home in Washington, where she visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
The first lady tweeted that she experienced a "powerful and moving tour," using the hashtag #WeRemember and including photographs of her lighting a candle at the Prayer Wall. She also issued a statement on her visit, which also took note of the "six million Jews lost in the Holocaust and the millions of other victims of Nazi persecution."
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