White House East Room Washington D.C. December 11 8:32 P.M. EST
Thank you very much everybody. Wow, what a crowd. You know, I did this a little while ago with a very similar group of people. Some are here for the second time - Ron - but that's good. That means you love Israel and you love everything we're doing. And I'm very honored to have you all here. Thank you very much.
And I want to thank our great First Lady. She's done the most incredible Christmas decorations. (Applause.) And we're excited to welcome so many friends to the White House as we wish you all a very Happy Hanukkah. (Applause.)
We're delighted to be joined by our great Vice President, Mike Pence. (Applause.) And, Mike - where is Mike? Thank you, Mike. And we're thrilled -
We love you!
Thank you. I love you too. Thank you. And I love Ivanka.
We love Melania!
And I love Jared.
We love Melania!
And I love our First Lady. (Applause.) And our three great grandchildren are with us as well as Jared's incredible parents, sisters, family. And where is Charlie? Where is the great Charlie? Come on up here, Charlie. Come on up. Both of you, come on up. (Applause.) Come on up. Great people. Tremendous people. Great, great businessman. Very successful. And he loves - come on. Come on, Seryl. He loves - he loves our country and he loves Israel. (Applause.)
I'm truly grateful to have the Jewish faith woven so deeply into my family.
I also want to recognize Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Steven? Where's Steven? (Applause.)
Secretary Dave Bernhardt. Where is David? David is the largest landlord in the country by a factor of about 50. By a - when we think we big landlords, he controls half of the United States, actually. Secretary of the Interior. So, David, thank you very much for being here. Come on up, David. Steven, come on up. Come on up. (Applause.)
Special Envoy Elan Carr. Thank you, Elan. (Applause.) Thank you. Great job. Great job. Along with Representatives David Kustoff, Michael McCaul, and Lee Zeldin. Come on up, fellas. Come on up. (Applause.) What a job they have done. What a job. They're warriors.
Thanks as well to Sheldon and Miriam Adelson for the incredible love and affection. (Applause.) We are forever grateful to all that you do to strengthen the unbreakable bond between the United States and Israel. Sheldon, Miriam, thank you very much. Thank you. You are great people. (Applause.) Incredible. And he's got no cash problem - that, I can tell you. (Laughter.) He's a fantastic man, a great visionary. He always wants to have a longer lease, a longer everything. I say, "Sheldon, it can be less than 50 years, okay? That's okay." Sheldon, thank you. So great. (Applause.)
I also want to extend my appreciation to Israelis' Ambassador - Israel's Ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer. (Applause.) And Ron has been an incredible, tireless fighter for Israel and happens to love the United States very much.
And, Jason, thank you very much for being here. Your family - I've watched them grow. Jason was with me for how many years? Twenty-three years with me and then came down here, and he's working on some tremendous things like peace in the Middle East. And thank you very much. And the family looks so beautiful. Thank you. (Applause.) Jason Greenblatt.
Here for this special occasion are two faith leaders who have tirelessly served our country. Thank you, Rabbi Moshe Margareten. Where is Rabbi? Where are you, Rabbi? (Applause.)
He's behind you.
Oh, hi, Rabbi. (Laughter.)
And Rabbi Zvi Boyarsky. Thank you, Rabbi. Thank you. (Applause.)
This evening, we come together to commemorate the remarkable story of Hanukkah. More than 2,000 years ago, an oppressive dictator defied[defiled] the Holy Temple and persecuted the Jewish people. But a group of brave Jewish warriors rose up, defeated a powerful army, and reclaimed their glorious destiny.
As the Jewish patriots searched for oil to rededicate the Temple, they only found enough to light the menorah for one day. They needed a little help from Sheldon, I think, right? (Laughter.) Sheldon would have found a lot of oil immediately.
However, that small batch of oil kept the flame burning for eight days, an eternal reminder of the Jewish people's resilience, endurance, and faith. And that's so true.
Across the centuries, the Jewish people have endured violence and oppression beyond measure. But no cruelty can overcome the might of your spirit, and no destruction can crush the eternal strength of your resolve. And that is so true.
This evening - (applause) - that's true. Go ahead. Let's give you a hand on that. Wow. (Applause.) It's true.
And we have a man that I have, by the way, great respect: Mark Levin. Where is Mark Levin? (Applause.) What a show. Where is Mark? Where is Mark? He's over here. Lee, send him up here, will you, please? Mark, come on up. Come on up here. Mark - the great Mark Levin. What a show. You know he had a very successful radio show. Who knew that face was going to work so well on television? (Laughter.) Number-one show.
Come on, Mark, wherever you may be. Where are you? I saw him. Is that Mark? Come on, Mark. Get your way up. (Applause.) Make a path. Like we used to say in the military, "Make a path." "Make a path." What a great guy. What a great show.
So who thought this guy was going to be a television star? Right? (Laughter.) Hot as can be on radio. All of a sudden, he tries the television thing - the number-one show. Mark, I don't know how - come on. Both of you come up here. (Applause.) Come on. Come on up, Mark. Yeah, come on, on the dais. See? He hasn't gotten used to being a star yet. (Laughter.) He's so big. Right, Mark? Come on over. And, by the way - come here. Get over here. Say a couple of words. Come on. (Applause.)
It's an honor to be here with the first Jewish President of the United States. (Laughter and applause.) And if he isn't, he should be. (Laughter.)
I want to thank you. I want to thank you for everything you have done for the Jewish people. (Applause.) I want to thank you for everything you've done for the Jewish people's ancestral homeland. (Applause.) You are going to be remembered there for a thousand years. And I want to thank you for what you've done for the United States of America. (Applause.) And I want you to know that we will not leave our general on the battlefield without our support, period. (Applause.) God bless you.
Thank you, Mark.
Fantastic guy. Thank you, Mark.
So, this evening, we are profoundly honored to be joined by Leonard Gordon. Leonard is a Holocaust survivor who endured the depths of evil in the Nazi genocide that murdered 6 million Jewish men, women, and children.
In 1944, he was imprisoned in a concentration camp when he heard the Allied victory in Normandy. That was a big, big day. It was then that he knew the Allies would defeat the Nazi regime. He held on to that hope until he was liberated by the American soldiers.
Soon, Leonard came to America, got married, and helped build submarines for the United States Navy. And, today, Leonard is 94 and he doesn't look a day over 90 - I'm telling you. (Laughter.) I'm only kidding, Leonard. And, Leonard, you lift up our entire nation.
My administration stands in unwavering solidarity with the Jewish people, Leonard. Where is Leonard? Where is Leonard? Where are you, Leonard? You're a good-looking man. Wow. (Applause.) You're looking good.
Well, we - we do; we stand in absolute joy of you, Leonard. And what you've done is fantastic. And where the Jewish people are cherished and, really, our great friends and our allies. And we want to thank you for being with us. And keep - keep living well. Okay, Leonard? Keep living well. Great job.
Two years ago, I recognized the true capital of Israel, and we proudly opened the American Embassy in Jerusalem. Right? (Applause.)
Read the full transcript HERE
You can visit a collection of all White House posts by clicking here.