Fact Check

Did Presidents Obama and Trump Write Wildly Different Entries in the Yad Yashem Guestbook?

An image showing what President Trump and former President Obama wrote in the Yad Yashem guest book is accurate.

Published May 25, 2017

An image accurately depicts what President Trump and President Obama wrote in the Yad Yashem guest book.

A graphic purportedly showing the messages penned by President Trump and President Obama during their respective visits to Yad Vashem, Israel's memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, appeared on social media in May 2017:

It is a great honor to be here with all of my friends - so amazing + will never forget.

Donald Trump

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 own capacity to rise up from tragedy and remake our world. Let our children come here, and know their history, so that 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.

Barack Obama

This image accurately shows what Trump and Obama wrote in the Yad Vashem guest book.

President Trump visited Yad Vashem on 23 May 2017. He delivered a speech at the memorial and signed the guest book. Haaretz, a news outlet in the middle east, posted an image of Trump's message:

The text of Obama's message is also accurate. Obama visited Yad Vashem in July 2008, when he was a presidential candidate. Haaretz also published an image of this message:

Much ado was made about the differences between the messages written by President Trump and Obama after visiting Yad Vashem. The Washington Post noted that Trump's tight schedule may have contributed to the brevity and oddly cheerful tone of his message:

The brevity and tone of the note may have been a function of the hurry the president was in during his time at the site, known as Yad Vashem, which he visited Tuesday. Packing so much into just 27 hours in Israel left only half an hour for the memorial, a customary stop on U.S. presidential visits, which precluded him from getting a full tour of the museum. Trump already had come under fire for that perceived slight to the memorial before his one-sentence missive started raising eyebrows and making headlines.

In 2008, George W. Bush left an even shorter note than Trump's (although without the current president's signature exclamation marks): God bless Israel. 

Here are a few other messages penned by United States politicians in the Yad Vashem guest book:

Bill Clinton: "Today we have come one step closer to the time when the people of Israel will live in peace with all of their neighbors, when the awful events of death and destruction memorialized here will be banished to the past."   

Hillary Clinton: "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." 

Laura Bush: 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.

Bill de Blasio: We must always remember and ensure that "never again" is an idea we live by. 

Chuck Hagel: For my friends of Israel - Thank you for this magnificent institution reminding all mankind of the depths and evil - but also the promise and hope of courage and men. A beautiful and important tribute to the victims of the past and a reminder for the generations of the future.  


Guild, Blair.   "What Presidents Trump, Obama, Clinton and Bush Wrote at Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial."     CBS News   23 May 2017.

Rhodan, Maya.   "Read What Trump and Other Presidents Wrote in the Guest Book at Yad Vashem."     Time   23 May 2017.

Bearak, Max.   "The Huge Contrast Between Obama’s and Trump’s Visits to Israel’s Holocaust Memorial."     Washington Post   23 May 2017.

Sonam, Sheth.   "All the Notes Trump, Obama, Clinton and More US Leaders Left at the Holocaust Memorial."     AOL   24 May 2017.

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.

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