In the wake of a horrific mass shooting by an anti-Semitic man that killed 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday, President Trump has called for nationwide prayer for the Jewish community and has ordered flags flown at half-staff to commemorate their time of mourning.
“All of America is in mourning over the mass murder of Jewish Americans at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh,” the president wrote on Twitter. “We pray for those who perished and their loved ones, and our hearts go out to the brave police officers who sustained serious injuries.”
“This evil Anti-Semitic attack is an assault on humanity,” he continued. “It will take all of us working together to extract the poison of Anti-Semitism from our world. We must unite to conquer hate.”
Trump, who has a Jewish son-in-law and a daughter who has converted to Judaism, has been a very staunch defender of Israel and recently declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel, despite harsh criticism. He has also associated with and sought legal counsel from many Jewish people throughout his life.
Yet CNN White House reporter Stephen Collinson wrote an opinion placing blame on Trump for the anti-Semitic shooting and drawing a strong connection between it and the series of package bombs sent to prominent Democrats last week, as well as the shooting of two black people at a Kroger store in Kentucky.
“This cannot be a coincidence: A heavily armed man burst in on a Jewish religious ceremony and killed 11 people before telling a law enforcement officer ‘I just want to kill Jews’ after a week that was heavy with other acts of extremist violence motivated by politics,” Collinson wrote about the suspect, 46-year-old Robert Bowers.
“Yet [Trump] has consciously stoked national divides, adopting a brand of politics that uses racial, nationalist rhetoric, rails against immigrants and refugees and equivocates about extremism — including after violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, in which white supremacist marchers chanted anti-Jewish slogans and a woman protesting their presence was killed,” Collinson continued, without offering support for his very harsh accusations.
“He cannot be accused of being directly to blame for horrific incidents like the one this weekend,” the CNN reporter acknowledged while seeming to make an argument that he does blame the president.
“Yet he still sometimes attacks Soros despite knowing that the Hungarian-born philanthropist is a hate figure and Jewish stereotype for anti-Semites and extremists on the far right fringes,” he continued, implying that anti-Semitism is common in criticism of Soros even though billionaire George Soros is widely blasted by conservatives for funding liberal causes.
Mass shooting suspect Bowers has himself been heavily critical of the president, blasting him for being a “globalist” and allowing an “infestation” of the U.S. by Jews, the UK’s Mirror reported. Despite being allegedly inspired by Trump’s “deliberately divisive” rhetoric, Bowers has made it clear that he is no Trump supporter.
"For the record, I did not vote for him nor have I owned, worn or even touched a MAGA hat," he wrote in a post lambasting Trump.
CNN’s blame of Trump for the synagogue shooting, and the fact that Collinson glossed over Bowers’ anti-Trump politics while making Sayoc’s pro-Trump politics front-and-center, did not go unnoticed by commenters on social media.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Bowers, if he’s convicted.