Most foreign leaders who visit Israel make it a point to visit the Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, to pay respect to the memories of 6 million Jews systematically murdered by Nazis during World War II.
President Donald Trump, who is currently on his first foreign trip since assuming office, also took time out to visit the museum. While there, he participated in the wreath-laying ceremony, lit the museum’s eternal flame and called the atrocities committed during the Holocaust “the most savage crime against God and his children.”
As per tradition, he also signed the museum’s revered “book of remembrance.” Usually, leaders and dignitaries use the opportunity to leave heartfelt messages, however, Trump’s note honestly looks more like something a child would write in a middle-school yearbook than something a grown man, much less the leader of the free world, would write in a guestbook at a Holocaust museum.
“It is a great honor to be here with all my friends — so amazing + will never forget!” Trump wrote in all caps.
Considering it is not even 140 characters, the note could have easily fit into a tweet — and that says a lot.
The bizarrely upbeat note drew sharp criticism on the internet.
Trump's note at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Israel is basically just what teenagers write in each other's high school yearbooks: pic.twitter.com/BMGzOGiQrs— (((Yair Rosenberg))) (@Yair_Rosenberg) May 23, 2017
Trump's note at Yad Vashem looks like it's for a 10th grade yearbook. pic.twitter.com/8SMeSwKUTG— Jensen Karp (@JensenClan88) May 23, 2017
@ianbremmer It's the childish "all of my friends" and enthusiastic exclamation point that is the real problem here— Sophie Warnes (@SophieWarnes) May 23, 2017
"so great to be here with all my friends" at the holocaust memorial museum... ok trump thx 4 visiting glad u had fun https://t.co/D4fHpDRhXW— Adam J. Kurtz (@adamjk) May 23, 2017
Trump treated a state visit to Israel's Holocaust memorial like he's on a trip with his high school class.— Matt McDermott (@mattmfm) May 23, 2017
Some people also believe Trump added the "never forget" part as an afterthought.
Hmm, which looks more natural... this perfectly centered paragraph, or the one where someone was forced by aides to add a phrase to the end? pic.twitter.com/ZjkeaqoC3x— Johnny McNulty (@JohnnyMcNulty) May 23, 2017
Many social media users were quick to compare the note to the one left by then-Sen. Barack Obama.
Trump, Obama notes left at Yad Vashem, Israel's memorial for the Holocaust.— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) May 23, 2017
This makes me sad. pic.twitter.com/QgOpILPyeQ
Notes left at Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust memorial museum. Trump on left, Obama on right. So horribly tone deaf. pic.twitter.com/e15A0yq0Op— Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) May 23, 2017
Having a thoughtful president vs. having a thoughtless president. Notes left by Obama and Trump at Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust memorial. pic.twitter.com/DpbuZxxJjm— Karl Frisch (@KarlFrisch) May 23, 2017
“I am grateful to Yad Vashem and all of those responsible for this remarkable institution. At a time of great peril and promise, war and strife, we are blessed to have such a powerful reminder of man’s potential for great evil, but also our capacity to rise up from tragedy and remake our world.” Obama had written. “Let our children come here, and know this history, so that they can add their voices to proclaim ‘never again.’ And may we remember those who perished, not only as victims but also as individuals who hoped and loved and dreamed like us, and who have become symbols of the human spirit.”
Here is what Bush wrote:
Doesn't have to be an essay.— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) May 23, 2017
Here's President Bush's note at Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust memorial. And Trump's. pic.twitter.com/5cdRxaDD2S
It is also important to note former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush spent nearly about an hour and a half at the memorial center while Trump, who initially planned for the visit to last only 15 minutes, only remained at the museum for about 30 minutes.
The Trump administration has previously come under fire for its own history of Holocaust-denial.
For instance, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Trump released a statement about honoring “victims, survivors (and) heroes of the Holocaust" but did not even acknowledge that Jews were the ones targeted by Nazis.
The commander in chief also lambasted Jews for the wave of anti-Semitic terror attacks across the country and once refused to entertain a Jewish reporter’s question about the threats during a press conference.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Government Press Office via REUTERS TV