The rabbi who will deliver a prayer at the inauguration ceremony in Washington, DC next week told The Algemeiner on Tuesday that all Americans should be “rooting for the success” of President-elect Donald Trump.
“Ample time has been given to play out the politics,” Rabbi Marvin Hier — the 77-year-old founder and dean of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center — said. “We have a new president. Instead of more divisiveness, let’s hope for the best from him.”
Rejecting criticism he has received from some segments of the Jewish community for his decision to participate in the inauguration, Hier said, “When you look at who will be sitting on the platform, you see Hillary and Bill Clinton, you see Barack and Michelle Obama, George W. and Laura Bush. And you see Jimmy Carter. That’s hardly a collection of people who agreed with Donald Trump. Nonetheless, they are smart enough to know that they should be at the inauguration of an American president, because it’s a symbol of this peaceful transition of power we have here. There are no tanks. It’s a remarkable thing. It’s a day when we showcase to the world why the United States of America remains, so many years after its founding, the greatest democracy on the planet.”
Opponents of Trump, Hier said, should show “respect for the institution of the American presidency and the peaceful transition of power that comes once every four years.”
Hier pointed out that he himself did not see eye-to-eye with Trump on every issue.
“I disagreed with some of his policy proposals and I said so publicly,” Hier noted. “For example, I’m not in favor of 12 million immigrants being kicked out of the country. I’m against the Muslim registry, as I would be against a Jewish registry. But what I am in favor of is a jihadist registry. I think the intelligence agencies should keep very careful records on who is a jihadist — that is to say those who want to overthrow Western civilization.”
Hier commended Trump for his “strong commitment to Israel.”
“We just witnessed a last-minute duplicitous move by the Obama administration to throw Israel under the bus,” Hier said. “Those people who don’t want a rabbi to appear at the inauguration have nothing to say about that?”
The rabbi was one of six clergy members invited to deliver prayers at the inauguration.
“I was shocked, completely surprised,” Hier said. “I had no idea, I wasn’t expecting it. But I was honored to accept the invitation.”
Hier did not reveal the prayer he would recite at the inauguration, but said it would “reflect the 21st century.”