President Donald Trump tweeted his thanks Wednesday to Assemblyman Dov Hikind for his interview praising the president for deporting a Nazi collaborator from Queens.
The president was referring to the deportation to Germany of Jakiw Palij, a Ukrainian war criminal ordered out by a federal judge in 2004. Palij was allowed to remain through two presidential administrations as they sought a country who would accept him. Trump credited Hikind with bringing the issue to his attention.
“Thank you to Democrat Assemblyman Dov Hikind of New York for your very gracious remarks on @fox [news]… for our deporting a longtime resident Nazi back to Germany!” Mr. Trump posted a day after Palij was finally removed from his home and put on a plane to Germany. “Others worked on this for decades.”
Hikind had appeared on one of the president’s favorite talk shows, on Fox News, just before the tweet.
“Talk is cheap,” he said in the interview. “Getting things done is what President Trump just did.”
“When the president does something huge,” he remarked later, imploring his fellow Democrats to “say ‘thank you Mr. President for doing an amazing thing.’ G-d bless the president.”
While other attempts to remove Palij, 95, failed in the past, Hikind argued that Palij was an illegal immigrant and should be treated as such. Mr. Trump apparently accepted the argument; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents carried out the expulsion.
No country had wanted to accept Palij. When Trump nominated his ambassador to Germany earlier this year, he instructed Richard Grenell to make the deportation a priority.
“Thank you, Dov,” Grenell tweeted on Tuesday. “Your work to highlight this case was valuable.”
Hikind arranged an appreciation event at Nachas Healthnet on Wednesday, where he led about two dozen Holocaust survivors in a rousing “Thank you, Mr. President!”