Dec. 6 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump condemned anti-Semitism and restated his commitment to Israel during a Hanukkah reception at the White House on Thursday.
Trump referenced the Oct. 27 shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in which accused gunman Robert Bowers, 46, shot and killed 11 people and injured six others in an attack that led a grand jury to indict him with 44 counts, including hate crimes.
"Five weeks ago our nation mourned a horrific tragedy," Trump said. "Jewish Americans were brutally murdered in a sinister anti-Semitic attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. And we went to see what had happened and to meet some of the people, and they were incredible people. And the way they stood up so bravely, so proudly was just something very incredible to see. And the rabbi was just a great person.
"In the aftermath of that wicked assault, we reaffirmed our solemn duty to confront anti-Semitism everywhere it occurs. We must stamp out this vile hatred from the world."
Eight Holocaust survivors also joined Trump on stage as he referred to the period as "history's darkest hour," referencing oppression against Jewish people throughout history and praising them for their resilience.
"Throughout history, the Jewish people have suffered unthinkable repression and terrible violence, yet in the face of this hardship, the Jewish people have endured, overcome and thrived. Thrived like few, that I can tell you," he said.
Trump later reflected on his decision last year to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.
"Exactly one year ago today, at my direction, the United States recognized the true capital of Israel," Trump said.
He added his administration would always stand with its "cherished friend and partner" Israel.
The ceremony closed with the lighting of a menorah as Vice President Mike Pence also praised the administration's relationship with Israel.
"It is the greatest honor of my life to serve as vice president to the most pro-Israel president in American history," he said.
In 2017, Trump held a single small gathering of 300 guests, breaking from past administrations, which held larger gatherings over the course of two nights. Many of those left off the list were Democratic members of Congress, according to a New York Times report at the time.