The White House denounced on Monday (20 February) the threats made against Jewish community centres across the US. The president's daughter, Ivanka Trump, also called for "religious tolerance" in a statement issued on Twitter.
"Hatred and hate-motivated violence of any kind have no place in a country founded on the promise of individual freedom. The president has made it abundantly clear that these actions are unacceptable," White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters said. According to CNN, at least 11 threats were reported by various centres on Monday (20 February) alone.
Donald Trump's eldest daughter, her husband and her children are Orthodox Jews. On Monday night, Ivanka took to Twitter to denounce the threats. "America is a nation built on the principle of religious tolerance. We must protect our houses of worship & religious centers. #JCC"
David Posner, the director of strategic performance of the JCC Association of North America, told CNN that 54 community centres in the US and Canada have received 69 threats since January. Law enforcement and the FBI are working together to investigate the threats.
"While we are relieved that all such threats have proven to be hoaxes and that not a single person was harmed, we are concerned about the anti-Semitism behind these threats, and the repetition of threats intended to interfere with day-to-day life," Posner said in a statement.
Posner continued: "Local JCCs serve not just the Jewish community, but the entire community. Participants from all different backgrounds come to their local JCCs for activities, Jewish cultural and religious programming, and opportunities to come together as a community."
The president has been criticised for being slow to condemn anti-Semitic comments and acts, The New York Times reported. In his first news conference alone as president on Thursday (16 February), Trump shot down a question by a reporter from a Jewish magazine on how the government would respond to the increase in anti-Semitic incidents.
The president called the question "insulting" before the reporter could finish asking it and maintained he was not anti-Semitic. "So here's the story folks: No 1, I am the least anti-Semitic person that you've ever seen in your entire life. No 2, racism. The least racist person. In fact, we did very well relative to other people running as a Republican," he claimed.