Trump skips out on hosting Ramadan dinner, breaking with White House tradition

President Donald Trump speaks during a bill signing event for the "Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017" in the East Room of the White House, Friday, June 23, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(WFLA) – President Trump just ended a nearly two-decades-long tradition of hosting an iftar dinner to commemorate the Muslim holiday of Ramadan.

The president and first lady Melania Trump opted to release the following statement instead:

On behalf of the American people, Melania and I send our warm greetings to Muslims as they celebrate Eidal-Fitr.

Muslims in the United States joined those around the world during the holy month of Ramadan to focus on acts of faith and charity. Now, as they commemorate Eid with family and friends, they carry on the tradition of helping neighbors and breaking bread with people from all walks of life.

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.

Eid Mubarak.

 

The White House has recognized Ramadan with an iftar or Eid celebration since former President Bill Clinton’s administration began the tradition in 1996. The dinner was typically attended by Muslim leaders and prominent members of the Muslim community along with politicians and diplomats.

It’s not the first time the administration has broken the White House’s Ramadan tradition. In May, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson declined a request from the State Department’s Office of Religion and Global Affairs to host an event to mark the start of the holy month.

Both Secretary Tillerson and President Trump’s decisions come after the president issued a controversial statement at the beginning of the holy month, which drew criticism from many members of the Muslim community.

“This year, the holiday begins as the world mourns the innocent victims of barbaric terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom and Egypt, acts of depravity that are directly contrary to the spirit of Ramadan,” The White House said.  “Such acts only steel our resolve to defeat the terrorists and their perverted ideology.”

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