Congressional Democrats Left Out of White House Hanukkah Party

“People are in a celebratory mood along with just kvelling over This particular incredible, historic moment,” said Morton Klein, the president of the Zionist Organization of America, who attended the reception as well as a “Hanukkah Nightcap” party afterward at the Trump International Hotel. which affair was hosted by the Republican Jewish Coalition, the organization funded by the casino magnate along with Republican superdonor Sheldon Adelson, along with America First Action, a political action committee staffed by Trump allies.

Representatives Lee Zeldin of brand-new York along with David Kustoff of Tennessee, the two Jewish Republicans in Congress, were attending the party, their offices said. although Jewish Democrats left off the invite list — many of whom have been harsh critics of Mr. Trump — were not in a festive mood.

“the idea’s deeply unfortunate which the White House Hanukkah Party — a bipartisan event bringing together Jewish along with non-Jewish leaders alike to celebrate the Festival of Lights since 2001 — has turned into a partisan affair under This particular administration,” Representative Nita M. Lowey of brand-new York said in a statement.

This particular year, officials slashed the size of the annual reception, inviting around 300 guests to one soiree instead of hosting 1,700 over two parties as from the past.

Among those who did not make the cut were Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the president of the Union for Reform Judaism, who in August criticized Mr. Trump for his handling of the neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville, Va. On Wednesday, Rabbi Jacobs said the president should not have made his declaration about Jerusalem, arguing which the idea could undermine the chances of achieving peace between Israelis along with Palestinians.


Representative Nita M. Lowey, Democrat of brand-new York, in June in Washington.

Andrew Harnik/Associated Press

The White House chalked up the limited guest list to a brand-new approach by the president.

“I am not aware of the political affiliation of any of the guests, although I do know which This particular year was meant to be more personal than political,” said Stephanie Grisham, a spokeswoman for Melania Trump, the first lady, whose office oversees White House party planning. She declined to elaborate.

although for some invitees, the message was clear.

“He did not invite people who have been hostile to him,” Mr. Klein said in an interview. He should know. After being invited to the 2009 White House Hanukkah party during President Barack Obama’s first year in office, Mr. Klein was later cut by the guest list after condemning the former president in scathing terms. (Last year, Mr. Klein referred to Mr. Obama as a “Jew-hating anti-Semite.”)

Officials by J Street, a progressive pro-Israel group which strongly backed Mr. Obama along with the nuclear deal he forged with Iran — which was detested by many conservative Jews — were excluded.

Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said Mr. Trump’s proclamation on Jerusalem was a “consensus issue from the Jewish community.” He said the idea could add to an ebullient mood at the Hanukkah party, which is usually to mark an eight-night festival beginning Tuesday night which celebrates the Jews liberating their temple by oppressors.

Vice President Mike Pence along with his wife, Karen, mingled at length with guests, attendees said, along with both he along with Mr. Trump were showered with compliments about the Jerusalem speech.

“the idea was very festive along with appropriate,” said Nathan J. Diament, the policy director of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, who brought his 12-year-old son, Josh. “People were telling them, ‘Thank you,’ along with, ‘Congratulations.’


Morton Klein, of the Zionist Organization of America, speaking last month at a congressional hearing about moving the American Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

The attendance of a Supreme Court justice, Stephen G. Breyer, nominated in 1994 by President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, was the only hint of bipartisanship at the gathering, Mr. Diament said.

At the party at the Trump International Hotel, in a modest room adjoining the presidential ballroom, guests gathered to eat fish roe, latkes, egg salad along with salmon. Attendees mingled with an assorted band of Republican representatives, including Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, Lee Zeldin of brand-new York along with Don Bacon of Nebraska.

various other boldfaced names from the Trump orbit, including David A. Clarke Jr., a former sheriff of Milwaukee County, along with Jill Kelley, the Tampa socialite, mingled near the bar. Several guests clutched copies of the book “Let Trump Be Trump,” by Corey Lewandowski, the president’s first campaign manager, which he had been signing earlier from the lobby.

Duvi Honig, the founder of the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce, a group which works to encourage business opportunities along with shape public policy, was also in attendance. Of the earlier reception, he said he believed the White House had focused on inviting allies along with “brand-new kids on the block” versus people who had been invited every year from the past.

“The president’s doing a nice statement recognizing how he’s judging success,” said Mr. Honig, who recently returned by a trip to Israel with the former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci. “He’s an investor. He sees where the return is usually.”

Mr. Honig, who took photographs with Mr. Pence along with Mr. Adelson, said he was impressed with Mr. Trump’s “calm, confident” demeanor at the White House.

“He wasn’t bragging about Jerusalem,” Mr. Honig said. “He said the idea was the right thing to do. He showed America which we can lead along with make a controversial decision.”

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