D.C. Lawmaker’s Support In Ward 8 Not Dampened By Accusations Of Anti-Semitism

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Written by Dana Sanchez

Washington, D.C. Council member Trayon White Sr. (D-Ward 8) has apologized for a Facebook post after being accused of anti-Semitism by Jewish colleagues, and support for him seems to be intact among his constituents east of the Anacostia River.

White shot a video while driving on a snowy day, then used social media to share his thoughts on climate change, which he attributed to the Rothschilds, a Jewish European banking family.

It wasn’t the first time White had made such comments, Washington Post reported.

White also said during a Feb. 27 gathering of top city officials, that the Rothschilds — often the subject of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories — control the World Bank and the federal government.

His recent Facebook posting suggested a brief snowfall in the District was “climate control” by the Rothschilds, who “create natural disasters they can pay for to own the cities.”

After being told that his remarks were anti-Semitic by both Jewish and non-Jewish colleagues, White apologized for his bizarre Facebook post, according to a report by WAMU American University Radio in Washington, D.C.

anti-Semitic
D.C. Council member Trayon White Sr. (D-Ward 8), pictured during his 2016 campaign. He said the recent controversy “has been a learning experience for me.” Photo: Linda Davidson/The Washington Post

White said he didn’t realize his comments about the Jewish banking dynasty controlling the weather were anti-Semitic. After initially standing by his comments, “White was met with a blizzard of criticism and later apologized.”

An act that might have been political suicide in some parts of the city does not seem to have dampened his support from his constituents,” WAMU reported.

White’s video did not cause an uproar in the neighborhood, said veterinarian Candace Ashley, who owns the Animal Clinic of Anacostia on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in Southeast D.C.

Talk has been focused instead on rumors that the council member’s drivers license was  suspended.

“The longtime Ward 8 resident applauded what she called much-needed change taking place in the area that includes some of Washington’s poorest neighborhoods,” WAMU reported.

The councilman’s behavior is inconsistent with the experience that Father Thomas Frank has had of him. Frank is pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, a Roman Catholic church in Ward 8 attended mainly by African American parishioners.

Frank described White as “a hardworking young man who’s looking toward making this community better.”

“I’ll take him at his word,” Frank said.

White, who was elected to a four-year term in 2016, said “It has been a learning experience for me,” the Washington Post reported: “I’ve been in conversations with a lot of people from the Jewish community coming to the office, especially those who know me, showing their support to me.”

White has had texts and private meetings at city hall with Rabbi Batya Glazer of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington and Lou Dubin, a Jewish developer working on a project in Anacostia, which White represents.

Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) said she was glad that White understood that his remarks were anti-Semitic, but she is still troubled by the fact that an elected official believes some entity can control the climate:

“His comments apparently embrace irrational, anti-science conspiracy theories about an agency or group controlling the weather,” Cheh said in a statement. “We cannot normalize such fringe theories and conspiracies or we risk permitting the radical — or worse, dangerous — to enter into the mainstream. Our only option is to condemn them as soon as they are voiced and identify them for what they are. We need good judgment on the Council to solve the many real problems we face, including the challenges of climate change. I remain deeply concerned.”