The White House declined on Friday to single out Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, or former President Donald Trump as the target of President Joe Biden’s tweet condemning antisemitism and Holocaust denial.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the substance of the message was more important than naming any names.
“As we have seen an increase in hate speech and antisemitism in particular and to your question, the president has always [stood] against that,” she told reporters in a gaggle aboard Air Force One en route to Boston. “He is standing with the Jewish community.”
“The president, for years, including after the hateful march in Charlottesville that drove him to run, his father had said, ‘Silence is complicity,’” Jean-Pierre continued, “and as president of the United States, he feels that it’s important for him to be very clear.”
Trump has announced he will be a candidate again for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, setting up a potential rematch with Biden, who has not yet made a final decision about a second campaign but appears to be leaning toward running.
But Jean-Pierre would not name Trump, Ye, or anyone else when asked by a reporter.
“I don’t think it matters who in particular,” she responded. “I think what the president is trying to say is that when we see this type of hatred, when we see this type of antisemitism, we need to call it out. We need to be very, very clear and condemn that.”
Ye, who is teasing a 2024 presidential campaign of his own, said Thursday, “We’ve got to stop dissing the Nazis all the time.”
“Well, I see good things about Hitler, also,” Ye told Jones. “Every human being has something of value that they brought to the table, especially Hitler.”
“I just want to make a few things clear: The Holocaust happened,” Biden tweeted Friday. “Hitler was a demonic figure. And instead of giving it a platform, our political leaders should be calling out and rejecting antisemitism wherever it hides.”
“Silence is complicity,” the president concluded.
Biden’s comments appeared to be a veiled shot at Trump for associating with Ye and white nationalist Nick Fuentes. But the White House did not say so.
“Like you also hear him say, the common theme of all forms of bigotry is that hate doesn’t go away. It only hides,” Jean-Pierre told reporters. “The grotesque poison of antisemitism is not hiding, and just yesterday he and [French] President [Emmanuel] Macron recognized the hundreds of thousands of Americans who gave their lives to overcome the horror of Nazism and keep us free.”