Silverman Statement on Councilmember Trayon White’s Remarks

D.C. Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I-At Large) released the following statement after learning of anti-Semitic remarks made by Councilmember Trayon White (D-Ward 8):  

“This morning I spoke with my colleague, Councilmember Trayon White, about his disturbing remarks reported in The Washington Post. He expressed to me that he did not realize that referencing the Rothschild family would be construed as anti-Semitic, and he apologized for the comments.

I told Trayon that I was troubled for two reasons. First, I was concerned that he had been exposed to anti-Semitic beliefs akin to what had been used in Nazi Germany either through materials he had read or people he trusts, and that he had not realized the hateful, dangerous message that it construed. Second, I was concerned that he subscribed to a conspiracy theory that certain people were manipulating climate conditions in cities for profit.

We both agreed that hate speech of any kind has no place at the D.C. Council or in our city. I believe that Trayon is remorseful about what he said, and I believe he is taking steps to understand why these comments were so offensive—not only to Jewish residents but to all who want an inclusive, welcoming city. I have spoken with Councilmember Brianne Nadeau, who like me is Jewish, as well as other members to talk about what further actions we can take to make sure this kind of speech is in no way tolerated.  

I have also spoken with Jewish organizations, including Jews United for Justice, about actions we can take with Councilmember White to encourage further dialogue, especially between the Black and Jewish communities. We have a great history of fighting racism and bigotry together. As said by the great civil rights champion, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: 'Let us dodge no issues. Let us yield no inch to bigotry.'"