Park­land shoot­ing vic­tim’s dad joins Trump for Hanukkah

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - - LOCAL - By Dar­lene Su­perville wkrous­[email protected]­sen­tinel.com or 954-356-4303 or Twit­ter @WayneRous­tan

The fa­ther of a Park­land school shoot­ing vic­tim helped the White House cel­e­brate Hanukkah on Thurs­day and lauded Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump as a “fighter” who has “re­taken Wash­ing­ton for the Amer­i­can peo­ple.”

Trump said the meno­rah was be­ing lit in the East Room in mem­ory of 18-year-old Meadow Pol­lack “and all of the pre­cious lives stolen from us this year, and we will pledge our re­solve to con­front ha­tred and vi­o­lence in all of its evil forms.”

Meadow was among 17 peo­ple killed in a Fe­bru­ary shoot­ing at Mar­jory Stone­man Dou­glas High School in Park­land. A 17-year-old stu­dent has been charged in the Valen­tine’s Day mas­sacre.

Meadow’s fa­ther, An­drew Pol­lack, said he has been fight­ing for his daugh­ter and other stu­dents since the shoot­ing. He was among a group of teen sur­vivors and par­ents of mur­dered chil­dren who at­tended a White House dis­cus­sion shortly af­ter the shoot­ing.

“Mr. Pres­i­dent, de­spite the pun­dits and so-called ex­perts who said you couldn’t, you have re­taken Wash­ing­ton for the Amer­i­can peo­ple,” Pol­lack said. “You are the great­est friend that the Jewish peo­ple have ever had in the White House, not only be­cause you rec­og­nized Jerusalem as the cap­i­tal of Is­rael and fol­lowed through on your prom­ise to move the em­bassy to Jerusalem, but be­cause you un­der­stand the spirit of Hanukkah, within your heart.”

Pol­lack added: “We have to keep fight­ing be­cause the safety of our chil­dren and the fu­ture of our coun­try de­pend on whether we honor the true spirit of Hanukkah, by stay­ing true to our tra­di­tions and to keep on win­ning.”

Trump de­scribed Pol­lack’s sor­row and pain as unimag­in­able and thanked him and his fam­ily for at­tend­ing.

“We prom­ise to hold the mem­ory of beau­ti­ful Meadow and ev­ery Park­land vic­tim in our hearts for­ever,” Trump said.

At an ear­lier Hanukkah re­cep­tion Thurs­day, Trump rec­og­nized eight Holo­caust sur­vivors, say­ing they had en­dured “evil be­yond de­scrip­tion.”

The pres­i­dent also men­tioned the fa­tal Oc­to­ber shoot­ing of 11 Jews at a Pitts­burgh syn­a­gogue. He said that af­ter that “sin­is­ter” killing, “we reaf­firmed our solemn duty to con­front anti-Semitism ev­ery­where. Trump added that we “must stamp out this vile ha­tred from the world.”

Trump’s daugh­ter Ivanka con­verted to Ju­daism to marry Jared Kush­ner. Through the cou­ple, Trump has three Jewish grand­chil­dren.

The au­di­ence erupted into cheers when Trump men­tioned his de­ci­sion last year to rec­og­nize Jerusalem as Is­rael’s cap­i­tal and, ear­lier this year, to move the U.S. Em­bassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

JAC­QUE­LYN MARTIN/AP

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump shakes hands with An­drew Pol­lack, whose daugh­ter Meadow was killed in the Park­land shoot­ing, af­ter Pol­lack spoke dur­ing a Hanukkah re­cep­tion at the White House.

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