Politicians are not strangers to the White House's dinner invitations, but President Donald Trump may be changing all of that. According to SF Gate, the White House did not celebrate Ramadan for the first time in nearly two decades.
In December 1805, President Thomas Jefferson formally invited a select number of politicians over to the White House for dinner. The December 9th guests were informed that "dinner will be on the table precisely at sun-set."
At the time, Tunisi envoy Sidi Soliman Mellimelli was observing Ramadan, a "holy month for Muslims in which observers fast between dawn and dusk." The meal, taken after sunset to break their fast, is called an iftar.
Jefferson's decision to accomadate the observance of Ramadan has been cited by historians as "the first time an iftar took place in the White House - and it has been referenced in recent White House celebrations of Ramadan as an embodiment of the Founding Father's respect for religious freedom."
But with this year's Ramadan, which began on May 27, come and gone, it looks like that tradition has come to an end. The Trump administration did not hold an iftar or an Eid celebration, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
The White House did not respond to questions about the lack of observance, but did release a short statement wherein the President and First Lady recognized the holiday.
"Muslims in the United States joined those around the world during the holy month of Ramadan to focus on acts of faith and charity," the statement read. "Now, as they commemorate Eid with family and friends, they carry on the tradition of helping neighbors and breaking bread with people from all walks of life. During this holiday, we are reminded of the importance of mercy, compassion, and goodwill. With Muslims around the world, the United States renews our commitment to honor these values. Eid Mubarak."
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson apparently said the State Department would break with the White House's long-standing Ramadan tradition in late May.
"This holiday marks the culmination of Ramadan, a month in which many experience meaning and inspiration in acts of fasting, prayer, and charity," Tillerson said in the statement. "This day offers an opportunity to reflect on our shared commitment to building peaceful and prosperous communities. Eid Mubarak."
These statements are in stark contrast to the Obama administration, which released a "lengthy statement" for the holiday as well as hosted a ceremony in celebration of Ramadan.
According to ABC News, Trump told Jonathan Karl that hosting an iftar dinner "wouldn't bother" him and that he would be "open to continuing that tradition."
Trump said, “It’s not something I’ve given a lot of thought to but it wouldn’t bother me.”
The White House hosted Passover Seder in April.