WASHINGTON - D.C. Councilmember Trayon White is under fire after he reportedly used constituent funds to make a donation for a Nation of Islam event in which leader Louis Farrakhan made anti-Semitic remarks.
The Washington Post reports that White (D-Ward 8) made a $500 donation on Jan. 29 from his Constituent Services Fund, which is supposed to be used for community causes to benefit D.C. residents.
White is alleged of contributing to the Nation of Islam’s Saviours’ Day, a weekend event that was held in February in Chicago where Farrakhan declared “powerful Jews are my enemy,” according to the Washington Post.
The Ward 8 council member said he did not know about the donation, but defended the Nation of Islam’s work in the District.
The D.C. Office of Campaign Finance is seeking more information from White on the donation.
Several members of the D.C. Council are rebuking White for the alleged donation. D.C. Councilmember Brianne Nadeau (D-Ward 1) said in a statement:
“The most recent revelation, that Councilmember Trayon White used his Constituent Services Fund to sponsor an event at which Minister Louis Farrakhan made anti-Semitic remarks, is appalling.
“With today’s revelations, I believe we have crossed a threshold. I believe the Council should censure Councilmember T. White for his misuse of funds in support of Anti-Semitism and homophobia. This is just the latest episode that underscores the historic problems with Constituent Services Funds being used for things that undermine the public trust. That is why I believe the Council should censure Mr. T. White.
“Over the past several weeks I have worked hand-in-hand with the Anti-Defamation League, Jews United for Justice, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, and countless leaders and congregations to work with and educate Councilmember T. White and others who perpetuate harmful stereotypes against the Jewish people. As a Jewish person, and as a Jewish leader, I have a responsibility to take on this work. The diversity of the District is its greatest strength and our embrace of the least among us is part of our proud tradition.
“To the people of Ward 8 who know too well how hard it is to rise up from bigotry, hate, and dangerous stereotypes, I ask that you understand how hurtful this has been, and that you too, hold your Councilmember accountable. I will call on Councilmember T. White to continue to make amends, to continue his education, to continue to build bridges, and once he has done all he can in changing from within, that he work to change the rhetoric around him. A leader wiser than all of us once said, ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Councilmember Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) wrote in a statement:
“I want to join Councilmember Nadeau’s call for a reprimand of Councilmember Trayon White. I agree with the sentiments in her statement and believe that a line has now been crossed that requires Council action.”
Anti-Defamation League Washington D.C. Regional Director Doron Ezickson released a statement saying:
“We find the Washington Post report regarding Councilman White’s alleged use of constituent funds towards a Nation of Islam event extremely concerning, and in the strongest possible terms urge him to publicly and unequivocally disassociate himself from Louis Farrakhan’s decades-long history of racism, anti-Semitism and LGBTQ bigotry.”
.@tweetelissa's statement on media reports that money from Councilmember Trayon White’s constituent services fund went to a Chicago event headlined by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan: pic.twitter.com/ABOMfeNNEP— CM Silverman Office (@CM_Silverman) April 21, 2018
This latest controversy comes after White apologized last month for statements made in a video posted on social media in which he alludes to a popular conspiracy theory that a well-known Jewish family controls the weather. The Washington Post also reported that the Wad 8 council member visited the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Wednesday, but abruptly left early before the guided tour he was taking part in had ended.