A council member representing the nation’s capital has apologized after making comments in a now-deleted Facebook video many critics interpreted as anti-Semitic.
According to the New York Post, Trayon White Sr. attempted to tie a recent bout of harsh winter weather to a prominent Jewish family.
The Rothschild family, with a lineage in finance dating back to 18th-century banker Mayer Amschel Rothschild in Germany, has long been subjected to conspiracies regarding its supposed hidden societal influence.
White reportedly added “climate manipulation” to the list of powers attributed to the family.
“Man, it just started snowing out of nowhere this morning, man,” he said. “Y’all better pay attention to this climate control, man, this climate manipulation.”
He went on to cite the family by name, suggesting climate forecasts that indicate D.C. is “a resilient city” are rooted in “a model based off the Rothschilds controlling the climate to create natural disasters they can pay for to own the cities, man.”
As The Washington Post reported, the Democrat council member’s comments were soon censured by local leaders, including Rabbi Daniel Zemel.
“This kind of anti-Semitism is unacceptable in any public official,” Zemel said.
White’s behavior “so diminishes what America is about and adds to the oppressive feeling going on in the country right now,” he added.
The council member sought forgiveness from those offended by his comments, insisting in a tweet posted Sunday evening that he had no animosity toward the Jewish people and did not intend for his comments to be interpreted as anti-Semitic.
“I really do apologize,” he wrote in the caption to a longer statement. “I work very closely with the Jewish community and never want to offend anyone, especially with Anti-Semitic remarks.”
White went on to indicate that he was seeking guidance from members of the advocacy group Jews United for Justice.
“They are helping me to understand the history of comments made against Jews and I am committed to figuring out ways (to) continue to be allies with them and others,” he wrote.
His personal apology was enough to convince at least one Jewish colleague that he was sincere.
Council member Brianne Nadeau wrote on Facebook that she believes White was “being truthful,” but reiterated her belief that these are “scary times” with white supremacy and anti-Semitism on the rise.
“It’s all the more important that our leaders across the country focus on eradicating hate and bigotry in all forms, and not make them worse, either purposefully or unwittingly,” she wrote.
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