President Trump on Saturday called the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting an act of “pure evil” and “anti-Semitism,” saying the “nation and the world” are “shocked and stunned by the grief.”
The president, speaking at a Future Farmers event in Indianapolis, addressed the “devastating” shooting that occurred Saturday morning at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood.
Multiple fatalities were reported, and four police officers were shot and were among the injured. The suspect, who was identified as Robert Bowers, is in custody.
“This wicked act of mass murder is pure evil,” Trump said. “This was an anti-Semitic act. You wouldn’t think this would be possible in this day and age.”
He added: “Our minds cannot comprehend the cruel hate and twisted malice that could cause a person to unleash such terrible violence, during a baby naming ceremony at a sacred house of worship on the holy day of Sabbath.”
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, earlier in the day, said the synagogue was hosting such an event when bullets began flying.
“Anti-Semitism and the widespread persecution of Jews represents one of the ugliest and darkest features in human history,” Trump said. “Anti-Semitism must be condemned and confronted everywhere and anywhere it appears.”
While the president’s remarks were largely in condemnation of anti-Semitism, he went further, adding that “there is no tolerance for anti-Semitism or racial or religious prejudice” in the U.S.
“You know that, you know that very well,” Trump said.
The president’s daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner are of Orthodox Jewish faith.
Ivanka Trump reacted to the shooting on Twitter on Saturday.
“America is stronger than the acts of a depraved bigot and anti-semite,” she wrote. “All good Americans stand with the Jewish people to oppose acts of terror & share the horror, disgust & outrage over the massacre in Pittsburgh. We must unite against hatred & evil. God bless those affected.”
The president offered prayers for the families of the victims, and wounded law enforcement officers, who he said “were very badly wounded.” Trump praised first responders as “unsung heroes,” and “incredible patriots.”
“We mourn for the unthinkable loss of life today,” the president said. “We fight for a future of justice, safety, tolerance, morality, dignity, and love.”
He added: “We must all rise above the hate, move past our division and embrace our common destiny as Americans.”
The president said he has been in contact with the mayor of Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, to “assure full and complete resources of my administration” for a federal investigation into the suspect and the events which unfolded Saturday morning.
The mass shooting at the Pittsburgh synagogue Saturday comes after more than a dozen suspicious packages containing potentially explosive devices were sent to prominent Democratic figures, like former President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, former CIA Director John Brennan, former Attorney General Eric Holders, and others, further fueling conversation about deepening divides and violence in America.
The FBI arrested a bomb-maker suspect, Caesar Sayoc, in South Florida on Friday.