Trayon White Sr.'s Trip to the Holocaust Museum Went As Badly As You Might Expect

Holocaust Museum
A flame at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., on April 21, 2009. White and his staff visited the museum and were given a guided tour, though the councilman left halfway through. NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

Washington, D.C., lawmaker Trayon White Sr. visited the city's Holocaust Museum Wednesday, in an apparent effort to atone for recent accusations that Jews control the weather, the World Bank and the federal government.

The Democratic councilman's effort to mend ties with the local Jewish community went about as well as you would imagine, with White making an insensitive gaffe before leaving early and standing outside on the sidewalk, baffling the tour guide and rabbi accompanying him, the Washington Post reported.

Following snowy weather in March, White posted a video on his Facebook page claiming that the "Rothschilds" control the climate to "create natural disasters they can pay for to own the cities." After national backlash, White was forced to apologize. A second video soon emerged in which White declared that the Rothschilds "control the World Bank," and that "they really pretty much control the federal government" too.

Clearly, he had a lot of work to do to get the local Jewish community back on side. White had already attended a Passover Seder and a bagels-and-lox breakfast with local Jewish leaders, and decided that an outing to the D.C. Holocaust Museum with his staff would be a good next step.

The museum, located just off the Mall, was opened in 1993 and hosted over a million visitors in 2016. With Holocaust Remembrance day marked nationwide this past Sunday, this week was a good opportunity for White to continue his penance and address his apparent misunderstanding of Jewish society and history. Unfortunately, the visit didn't go entirely to plan.

The tour lasted around 90 minutes, but halfway through White disappeared. Rabbi Batya Glazer of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, who was accompanying the group, texted White to ask where he had gone. When asked why he left so early, White put his cell phone to his ear and said nothing, the Post reported.

His reply explained he had to leave early in order to attend another event, but said he hoped to see her outside the museum. Perplexed, the tour continued without the councilman, though the aides didn't fare much better than their boss. While being shown an exhibit on the Warsaw Ghetto, one compared it to "a gated community". The rabbi explained she "wouldn't call it a gated community. More like a prison."

Warsaw ghetto
A man walks next to the place of the former Jewish Ghetto wall on April 11, 2013 in Warsaw. One of White's aides compared the infamous ghetto to a "gated community." JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images

They did at least stick around until the end of the tour. When it was over, the group found White waiting on the sidewalk outside. "I'll be coming back to see more of the museum. I didn't get a chance to see the whole thing," White said. "But I think it's a lot of education here, a lot of synergy here between what happened to the Jewish community and the African community."

The 33-year-old has represented Washington, D.C.'s Ward 8 since January 2017. The ward was home to some 73,600 people in 2010, and its predominantly black residents are some of the city's poorest. White himself grew up in poverty the southeast of the city and had run-ins with local law enforcement before turning towards religion and politics.