Here are some of the things Donald Trump is happy to do for longer than 15 minutes: Play golf at one of his own courses. Talk about the crowd sizes at his inauguration. Watch Fox & Friends every morning.
Here are some of the things he won’t do for longer than 15 minutes: Read intelligence briefings that don’t mention his name. Keep state secrets to himself. Or, apparently, pay respects to the victims of the Holocaust.
According to Israeli publication YNet News, Donald Trump’s advance team wants to shorten his visit to Israel’s Holocaust memorial to no more than 15 minutes, just enough time to sign the Yad Vashem guest book and deliver brief remarks alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The duration of his visit—shorter than his time spent schmoozing with the New England Patriots last month—might pass unobserved were it not for the Trump administration’s already tense relationship with the Jewish community and shaky grasp on the facts of the Holocaust.
Twice in his first 100 days in office, the Trump White House had to deflect charges of Holocaust denialism. The first time came after the administration released a statement that failed to acknowledge Jews were specifically targeted by the Nazis; the second came when Press Secretary Sean Spicer referred to concentration camps as “Holocaust centers” and suggested that Hitler didn’t use chemical weapons to exterminate people.
Trump’s most loyal supporters—and even his own staff—are lousy with avowed anti-Semites. Repeatedly during the campaign, Trump would find anti-Semitic smears on social media and broadcast them to his audience of millions. He continues to employ Sebastian Gorka, who is allegedly a member of a fascist Hungarian society linked with the Third Reich. And despite repeated attacks on Jewish community centers and cemeteries around the country—some of which were accompanied with explicitly pro-Trump messages—the administration was slow to condemn the perpetrators.
Even Trump himself, when left to his own devices, has a fondness for anti-Semitic tropes, suggesting to a capacity crowd at the Republican Jewish Coalition event last year that they wouldn’t support him because “I don’t want your money.”
The New York Times reported on Tuesday that the administration’s only objective for Trump’s first foreign trip is to avoid any more diplomatic catastrophes. Trump himself reportedly tried to have the trip cut in half—to just five days. But if the last week has taught us anything, it’s that you should never underestimate the amount of damage Donald Trump can cause in five days without even leaving his house.