Speaking to the press Saturday, President Trump called the synagogue shooting in Poway, Calif., a "hate crime."
Funeral services were held Monday for Lori Gilbert-Kay, the only person to die during a shooting at a San Diego synagogue as she courageously blocked bullets from hitting the rabbi who had been overseeing a Passover service. We offer our condolences to her family and all who knew and loved her.
President Donald Trump offered his condolences over the weekend, too, calling Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, who described the president as comforting and the conversation with him as meaningful. And at a political rally in Wisconsin, he told the large crowd of MAGA-hat-wearing supporters that “We forcefully condemn the evil of anti-Semitism and hate.”
We’re sorry, Mr. Trump, but too little, too late. You don’t get to use this tragedy to inoculate yourself against claims that you encourage hate, not after years of validating white nationalists.
We can’t say what led the 19-year-old accused of the Chabad of Poway shooting to walk into the synagogue and open fire on the congregation using an AR-style assault weapon. Police say John T. Earnest posted an online manifesto rife with racist slurs and praise to Adolf Hitler and that he expressed support for mass shootings at a New Zealand mosque and Pittsburgh synagogue. But the rise in hate crimes like that one since Mr. Trump took office is unmistakable.
Is it because Mr. Trump has given people like Mr. Earnest permission to act on hate with his own lack of intolerance and disregard for people of other races and cultures?
As agitated as I was watching Trump’s rally Saturday, I came to understand something about them that I should have appreciated long before this time: Not only are they a form of media, they are as profound and possibly as brilliant as his use of cable TV and Twitter was in the 2016 race.
In the same speech in which he expressed outrage over the shooting, Mr. Trump once again called presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas,” a nickname Native Americans said mocks their heritage, but Mr. Trump keeps on using.
He even infused a bit of racism into the sports arena as he congratulated the No. 2 NFL draft, Nick Bosa, who deleted social media posts with racist and homophobic language to better his prospects of landing at a good team. The Ohio State defensive end and Trump supporter, who is white and was picked by the San Francisco 49ers, also called Colin Kaepernick a clown for protesting police brutality by “taking a knee” during the national anthem before games. Mr. Trump did not offer congratulations to the overall first pick, quarterback Kyler Murray, who is black.
Nick Bosa may have been the No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft, but the DE out of Ohio State was just made the top pick in the culture wars.
By Jane Mcmanus
Apr 27, 2019 | 5:30 PM
This kind of behavior has become par for the course for our president. He can’t change the narrative now, although he sure seems to be trying.
Remember all the support he threw behind the tiki torch carrying white nationalists who stormed the town of Charlottesville in 2017? Joe Biden reminded those who forget during his presidential campaign announcement last week. Rather than publicly vilify their actions, Mr. Trump insisted there were “very fine people on both sides.” Now, in his revisionist history of the event, Mr. Trump now claims he was talking about those who were against removing the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Does he not remember all the television newscasts and stories written about his controversial words at the time?
White House spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway continued to run with that narrative Sunday on CNN when she said the president’s words have been distorted over time and that he had condemned white nationalism after the Charlottesville incident. As did Newt Gingrich, who got into the issue with hosts of The View.
It's true, Mr. Trump did condemn white nationalism at the urging of his staff, shortly after his initial words. But then he backtracked again a day later, according to The New York Times. “I think there is blame on both sides,” the president told reporters with the newspaper. “You had a group on one side that was bad. You had a group on the other side that was also very violent. Nobody wants to say that. I’ll say it right now.”
Really? A denouncement of hate should not be that hard to figure out.