Joe Biden said Wednesday he will fight against the 'resurgence of this tide of anti-Semitism' as he joined first lady Jill, Vice President Kamala Harris and First Gentleman Doug Emhoff for a Hanukkah celebration.
Emhoff, the first-ever Jewish resident of the One Observatory Place, led the candle lighting ceremony at the White House along with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who is also Jewish.
All four members of the first and second couple made remarks to a room full of attendees before lighting the candles for the fourth night of Hanukkah. The remarks and events were also live-streamed for those who could not come.
Biden used the religious holiday celebration to push his $1.75 trillion Build Back Better social welfare spending package, which was passed by the House last month and faces an uphill battle in the Senate.
'That little bit of light, wherever it is found, can dispel the darkness and illuminate a path forward,' the president said during his remarks on Hanukkah in the East Room. 'And whether it's in a temple of Jerusalem or a temple of our democracy, nothing broken or profaned is beyond repair – nothing.'
'We can always Build Back Better – or perhaps, Build Back Brighter.'
'Build Back Brighter': President Joe Biden pushed his $1.75 million Build Back Better plan at a Hanukkah celebration at the White House Wednesday
Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff (right) lit the menorah candles at the White House Wednesday with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (center), who is also Jewish
Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris (right) looked friendly coming off of drama surrounding reports of tensions between the two
Emhoff said he is 'humbled' to bethe first Jewish spouse of a vice president or president
Emhoff said he was 'humbled' to be the first ever Jewish person to light a menorah in the Vice President's residence.
On the first night of Hanukkah, Emhoff posted an image of him and Harris placing their lit candles on the menorah in the window of their home located at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C.
'Hanukkah is one of our family favorites as a holiday,' Harris said before introducing Biden.
'It is my honor to introduce a man of deep faith – I work with him every day – and he is guided by the light, always,' she said. 'A leader who deeply understands the Jewish faith and stands with the Jewish people of our nation and our world – our President Joe Biden.'
The joint appearance in the midst of the holiday season comes as rumors emerged of tension between Harris and Biden as their teams become frustrated with each other.
President Biden and first lady Jill Biden (right) enter the East Room Wednesday for the White House Hanukkah celebration
Senator Schumer of New York lights a candle for the fourth night of Hanukkah at a White House celebration Wednesday
'We have to stand against this resurgence of this tide of anti-Semitism and other forms of intolerance and hate here at home and around the world,' Biden said Wednesday
'We just saw an instance so horribly anti-Semitic – flyers being left at people's homes in Los Angeles,' the president recalled. 'We have to stand against this resurgence of this tide of anti-Semitism and other forms of intolerance and hate here at home and around the world.'
Biden was referencing an instance being investigated as a hate crime in Los Angeles where, on the first day of Hanukkah on Sunday, several Beverly Hills homes found anti-Semitic flyers on their front yards.
'The flyer, a single 8.5' x 11 sheet of paper, contains propaganda-style hate speech related to the COVID pandemic and the Jewish people,' the Beverly Hills Police Department wrote in a statement.
Professor Deborah Lipstadt in the Biden's administration's special envoy for Monitoring and Combating anti-Semitism.
Emhoff, 57, also spoke at the annual National Menorah lighting ceremony in Washington D.C. on Sunday for the first night of the Jewish winter holiday. He is the first Jewish spouse of a US president or vice president and was chosen as the special guest to speak at this year's lighting, a tradition that started in 1979.
In his speech, Emhoff noted the importance of Jewish history in American culture as well as putting an end to anti-Semitism in the modern world.
Emhoff posted an image from the Vice President's Residence Sunday – the first day of Hanukkah – as he made history with Harris by lighting the first ever menorah candle in the window of One Observatory Place
'On this first night of Hanukkah, Jews all around the world are going to light their menorahs in the windows of their homes – just like the vice president and I are going to do later tonight at our home here in DC,' Emhoff said in his speech.
'As we light this menorah on this lawn of the free, let us rededicate ourselves to doing everything we can to shine a light on hate, so we can put an end to hate.'
'Let us remember always that Jewish history is American history; our values, American values,' he added.