If you’ve logged onto the internet in the last—let’s say—18 months, you might have deduced that President Trump is not exactly a Muslim ally. Or friend. Whatever you want to call it: Trump has made his feelings about Islam abundantly clear (unless, of course, he’s vying to sell an Islamic country $110 billion worth of American weapons).
So it shouldn’t come as much surprise that the White House, for the first time in two decades, did not host a dinner to commemorate the end of Ramadan. Sure, it’s been a tradition since Bill Clinton was in office. Thomas Jefferson even hosted an iftar, a meal to break the day’s fast, when a Tunisian envoy visited the White House in 1805. But is anyone actually shocked that Trump decided to “forgo” a “long tradition” of hosting a meal to honor a religion he so evidently has no ounce of respect for?
In any case, I can’t imagine many Muslims would want to attend a celebratory dinner hosted by a man who has doggedly tried to ban people from predominately Muslim countries entry into the U.S.
Instead, the White House released a statement that wouldn’t be offensive if the president had not repeatedly tried to alienate the entire religion. The predictably brief statement follows.
On behalf of the American people, Melania and I send our warm greetings to Muslims as they celebrate Eid al-Fitr. During this holiday, we are reminded of the importance of mercy, compassion, and goodwill. With Muslims around the world, the United States renews our commitment to honor these values.
Ah, yes. “Mercy, compassion, and goodwill,” are certainly not words that come to mind when one remembers that Trump has also remained committed to preventing Syrian refugees from entering the U.S. Perhaps instead of an effort to “renew” its commitment to “honor these values,” the Trump administration could start embodying these virtues—since it has yet to do so in the first place.