By Maya Rhodan
May 23, 2017

President Trump visited Israel’s Holocaust Museum and Memorial on Tuesday at the tail-end of his brief trip to the nation. During remarks at Yad Vashem, Trump called the Holocaust history’s “darkest hour.”

“It was the most savage crime against God and his children, and it is our solemn duty to remember, to mourn, to grieve and to honor every single life that was so cruelly and viciously taken,” Trump said.

The President and First Lady Melania Trump signed Yad Vashem’s guest book and left a short note about their time in the solemn space.

The note read:

It is a great honor to be here with all of my friends. So amazing + will Never Forget!

The note marked a contrast with that left by Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, who spent over an hour in the museum, as well as other top U.S. leaders who have visited the memorial.

Here’s what President Obama’s note said:

I am grateful to Yad Vashem and all of those responsible for this remarkable institution. At a time of great peril and promise, war and strife, we are blessed to have such a powerful reminder of man’s potential for great evil, but also our capacity to rise up from tragedy and remake our world. Let our children come here, and know this history, so they can add their voices to proclaim “never again.” And may we remember those who perished, not only as victims, but also as individuals who hoped and loved and dreamed like us, and who have become symbols of the human spirit.


Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Yad Vashem in 2009 during her first visit to the region in her role. Clinton left a lengthier note as well, writing:

Yad Vashem is a testament to the power of truth in the face of denial, the resilience of the human spirit in the face of despair, the triumph of the Jewish people over murder and destruction and a reminder to all people that the lessons of the Holocaust must never be forgotten. God bless Israel and its future.

David Silverman—Getty Images
David Silverman—Getty Images

When President George W. Bush visited in 2008. He too left a brief message, simply signing his name and “God Bless Israel,” during his visit.

A note reading, " God Bless Israel, George Bush" is seen on the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial' guest book during a visit by US President George W. Bush in Jerusalem, 11 January 2008. Bush paid homage to Holocaust victims before a biblical tour today that will wrap up a Holy Land visit in which he urged Israelis and Palestinians to get serious about peace efforts. AFP PHOTO/POOL/JIM HOLLANDER (Photo credit should read JIM HOLLANDER/AFP/Getty Images)

First Lady Laura Bush left a more eloquent note when she visited in 2005.

Each life is precious. Each memory calls us to action. To honor those lost we commit ourselves to reject hatred and to teach tolerance and live in peace.

JERUSALEM - MAY 22: (ISRAEL OUT) U.S. first lady Laura Bush (R) signs the guestbook at the end of her visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial with Gila Katzav (C), wife of Israeli president Moshe Katzav, May 22, 2005 in Jerusalem, Israel. Laura Bush is on a two-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories as part of her Middle East tour. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)
Uriel Sinai—Getty Images


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