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President Donald Trump promised to confront anti-Semitism and praised the perseverance of the Jewish people and the Holocaust survivors who had the courage to tell their stories.
His voice echoing off the walls of the U.S Capitol, Trump spoke forcefully and deliberately, calling out those who would deny or seek or erase the Holocaust.
"Those who deny the Holocaust are an accomplice to this horrible evil and we will never be silent — we just won't," the president said. 'We will never, ever be silent in the face of evil again."
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"The survivors in this hall, through their testimony, fulfilled the righteous duty to never forget and engrave into the world's memory the Nazi genocide of the Jewish people," Trump said.
"You witnessed evil and what you saw is beyond description," he added. "Beyond any description."
The president, who campaigned on a promise to stand firm in support of Israel, called the country an "eternal monument to the undying strength of the Jewish people" and continued a promise of friendship of support.
Affirmed to Trump in the stories of Holocaust survivors, like the late Elie Wiesel, is the fact that "we must never, ever shrink away from telling the truth about evil in our time."
It was a high stakes appearance for Trump whose administration has grappled with gaffes and blunders in recognizing the genocide that killed six million Jews.
Even as a candidate, Trump's campaign was repeatedly accused of dog whistling to white supremacist and alt-right supporters — such as his slow disavowal of former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke in February 2016, as well as several re-tweets of apparent neo-Nazi Twitter accounts or alt-right imagery.
On Monday, the White House released a statement declaring days of remembrance for Holocaust victims, saying that "every generation must learn and apply the lessons of the Holocaust so that such horror, atrocity, and genocide never again occur."
The strongly worded statement included in clear terms that "The Holocaust was the state-sponsored, systematic persecution and attempted annihilation of European Jewry by the Nazi regime and its collaborators."
Some media reports also questioned whether that language, however strong, was plagiarized as the wording matches closely with the Holocaust Museum's "Introduction to the Holocaust" web page.
But the sentiment in Monday's statement was starkly different than the January White House statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day that made no specific mention of Jewish people, spurring outrage and speculation about the omission.
The Anti-Defamation League's Jonathan Greenblatt called it "puzzling and troubling," even as the White House defended the statement as inclusive of all who suffered and Press Secretary Sean Spicer said “the president went out of his way to recognize the Holocaust."
Spicer himself has come under fire for comparing Nazi Leader Adolf Hitler to Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad earlier this month, saying even Hitler "didn't even sink to using chemical weapons" against his own people like Assad did.
The White House press secretary later apologized repeatedly for the mistake, telling NBC News a the time that "to draw any kind of comparison to the Holocaust was inappropriate and insensitive." The comment came during the Jewish holiday of Passover.