Calling the Holocaust ‘sad’ is the first step towards denying it ever happened | Jonathan Freedland

On Holocaust Memorial Day, the White House issued a statement that did not mention Jews or antisemitism – but this was no oversight by the new administration

As anyone who has seen Denial, the new film about the 2000 libel trial brought by David Irving against the historian Deborah Lipstadt, will know, Holocaust denial can take many forms. In the face of all the evidence, there are those who say that six million Jews were not murdered by the Nazis; or that the gas chambers never existed; or that Adolf Hitler had nothing to do with it. There is another strand, too; one denying that Jews were specifically targeted for extermination. Even though the Nazis infamously referred to their mass killings of Jews as “the final solution to the Jewish problem”, this form of Holocaust denial seeks to negate that core fact – to suggest that the second world war saw lots of people get killed, and that Jews suffered just like everyone else; no more and no less.

Such a view has long been marginal, especially in the west, but on Friday it gained a new and powerful advocate: the Trump administration. To mark Holocaust Memorial Day, the White House issued a statement that did not mention Jews or antisemitism at all.

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Never mind the optics, Theresa May’s US dash was mortifying

Sure, it went fine – Trump managed not to drop any bombshells. But this hasty visit smacks of desperation

In normal times, you’d say everything went swimmingly. Sure, the American president seemed a tad unsure how to say the name of his guest – whom he greeted as Ter-raiser – slightly reinforcing the White House’s earlier failure, in a briefing note, to spell the British prime minister’s name correctly, dropping the “h” and thereby suggesting Donald Trump was about to receive Teresa May, who made her name as a porn star.

But other than that, the PM would have been delighted. In the press conference that followed their Oval Office meeting, there were no bombshells: Trump managed to get through it without insulting an entire ethnic group, trashing a democratic norm or declaring war, any of which might have diverted attention from May’s big moment. He was on best behaviour, diligently reading the script that had been written for him, attesting to the “deep bond” that connects Britain and the US. May received all the assurances she craved that her country’s relationship with the US remains “special”.

Related: Transatlantic tango: Trump and May take their turn at the special relationship

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Never mind the optics, Theresa May’s US dash was mortifying

Sure, it went fine – Trump managed not to drop any bombshells. But this hasty visit smacks of desperation

In normal times, you’d say everything went swimmingly. Sure, the American president seemed a tad unsure how to say the name of his guest – whom he greeted as Ter-raiser – slightly reinforcing the White House’s earlier failure, in a briefing note, to spell the British prime minister’s name correctly, dropping the “h” and thereby suggesting Donald Trump was about to receive Teresa May, who made her name as a porn star.

But other than that, the PM would have been delighted. In the press conference that followed their Oval Office meeting, there were no bombshells: Trump managed to get through it without insulting an entire ethnic group, trashing a democratic norm or declaring war, any of which might have diverted attention from May’s big moment. He was on best behaviour, diligently reading the script that had been written for him, attesting to the “deep bond” that connects Britain and the US. May received all the assurances she craved that her country’s relationship with the US remains “special”.

Related: Transatlantic tango: Trump and May take their turn at the special relationship

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Sean Spicer is a Groucho Marxist, asking us not to believe our own eyes

Every possible data point confirms his inauguration crowd claims to be false. So why did Trump’s press secretary turn himself into a laughing stock?

So now we know that President Trump and his press secretary are strict followers of Marx – not Karl, but Groucho.

For it was Groucho Marx who asked, in the 1933 classic Duck Soup, “Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?” In his first appearance at the podium as White House press secretary on Saturday, Sean Spicer adhered to that same Marxist doctrine by demanding that the media ignore the clear evidence of their own eyes, as well as photographs and video footage, and instead believe Trump’s claim that he had drawn record-breaking crowds to his inauguration ceremony the previous day. Or to be precise, “the largest audience to ever witness the inauguration – period. Both in person and around the globe.”

Related: Trump's inauguration crowd: Sean Spicer's claims versus the evidence

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Divisive, ungracious, unrepentant: this was Trump unbound | Jonathan Freedland

Inaugural speeches are meant to heal, but he evoked dark historical echoes and confirmed our worst fears

Well, what were you expecting? Did you somehow think that the Donald Trump of the long, bitter campaign of 2016 would be miraculously transformed in the Washington rain, emerging as a kinder, gentler man, ready to serve as healer of the nation and humble steward of the free world? Because if you did, you were sorely disappointed.

Related: Donald Trump inauguration: 'This American carnage stops now' – live

Related: The presidential inauguration – in pictures

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Gove is simply Trump’s cheerleader, glossing over inconsistencies and ignorance | Jonathan Freedland

The Times encounter reveals the president-elect’s alarming views, but also shows how he expects the media to treat him – with obsequiousness

Perhaps the most embarrassing aspect of the so-called “special relationship” between Britain and the US – besides the fact that it’s so clearly unrequited, with Britain using the term while the US doesn’t – is the neediness. Time and again, London abases itself in its desperation to be noticed by Washington, and especially by the White House – no matter how appalling the incumbent of that office.

The arrival of Donald Trump has triggered yet another demonstration of this least appealing British habit, with a humiliating scramble among Britain’s politicians to be the first to shake the reportedly short-fingered hand of the next president. Nigel Farage won that competition, bagging that famously anti-elitist snap of the two men in the billionaire’s gold elevator. That set off a furious effort by Theresa May to get in there quick, despatching her two most senior aides to Trump Tower to arrange a meeting. We now know that she followed that up with a personal letter to Trump, invoking Winston Churchill, as all British pleas for the special relationship must.

Related: Donald Trump's first UK post-election interview: Brexit a 'great thing'

Related: Trump wants a UK-US trade deal 'signature ready' for Brexit in 2019, says Gove - Politics live

Ganz cooles Abschiedsgeschenk von @KaiDiekmann - Rumms! @BILD pic.twitter.com/rnwPMtL4kn

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Don’t treat Donald Trump as if he’s a normal president. He’s not | Jonathan Freedland

From the US Congress to Theresa May, everyone needs to understand that when the next president takes office the usual rules will no longer apply

There is one week to go and all is confusion. Next Friday Donald Trump will take the oath of office and be sworn in as president of the United States. But still no one has the first clue how to handle what’s coming. Politicians, journalists and diplomats, in the US and around the world, are searching for guidance, desperately flicking through the pages of the rulebook, a manual full of past precedents and norms that they have spent their careers mastering – but that Trump burned and shredded months ago.

Related: John McCain passes dossier alleging secret Trump-Russia contacts to FBI

Israel has reportedly been advised by US intelligence not to share intel with the Trump administration

Theresa May is repeating the same mistake so fatefully made by Tony Blair in 2001

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