(JTA) — A councilman in Washington, D.C., apologized for suggesting on Facebook that rich Jews who control the weather caused an unexpected snowstorm.
Trayon White Sr., a Democrat representing the district’s 8th Ward, posted a video early Friday morning in which he accused “the Rothschilds” of controlling the climate to make money — an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that has gained traction on web. He later removed the video, and issued an apology.
The Rothschilds are a well-known European Jewish dynasty descended from a Jewish banker originally from Germany.
In the video, White said: “Man, it just started snowing out of nowhere this morning, man. Y’all better pay attention to this climate control, man, this climate manipulation. And D.C. keep talking about, ‘We a resilient city.’ And that’s a model based off the Rothschilds controlling the climate to create natural disasters they can pay for to own the cities, man. Be careful.”
The Washington Post first reported the story.
Internet conspiracy theorists claim that the Rockefeller Foundation’s Resilient Cities initiative, which provides grants to cities, including Washington, to address environmental and economic problems, is part of a plot to control and reduce the population of North America. And some conspiracy theorists also think the Rothschilds, working together with the Rockefellers, have technology to control the weather.
A YouTube video by a Northern California conspiracy monger, claiming that the Rothschilds and the Rockefellers are part of a “genocide program,” has been viewed over 55,000 times.
White told The Washington Post, which called him for comment, that the video “says what it says” and expressed surprise that his remarks were considered anti-Semitic. He sent an apology to the newspaper for the post four hours after it appeared online via text message.
“I work hard every day to combat racism and prejudices of all kinds. I want to apologize to the Jewish Community and anyone I have offended,” he said in the text. “The Jewish community have been allies with me in my journey to help people. I did not intend to be anti-Semitic, and I see I should not have said that after learning from my colleagues.”
White said that the Jews United for Justice, a group that advocates for progressive causes and which endorsed him in 2016, was “helping me to understand the history of comments made against Jews and I am committed to figuring out ways continue to be allies with them and others.”
A City Council colleague, Brianne Nadeau, a Democrat who is Jewish and represents the district’s diverse 1st Ward, said in a Facebook post that White had reached out to her to apologize and “expressed his sincere regret, I believe, for having offended members of the Jewish community.”
“I believe he is being truthful when he says he didn’t realize what his statement implied,” Nadeau added.