We’re often told not to politicize tragedies, particularly right after they happen. But those admonishments typically come from those who know they’re on the wrong side of it, and therefore don’t want any discussion about it. And in a week which saw a Trump supporter driving around in a Trump van trying to murder Trump’s political enemies, all bets are off. So I’ll just say it: Donald Trump murdered the Jews who died in a Pittsburgh synagogue this morning. He might as well have pulled the trigger himself.
You can draw a straight line from today’s shooting to two things Donald Trump said yesterday. First, he basically laughed off the fact that one of his biggest supporters had been arrested for trying to murder prominent Democrats. He played it up for fun. He yelled around about “Crooked Hillary” yesterday, even though Hillary was one of the bomb targets. He couldn’t have sent a more clear signal to the alt-crazies out there that this kind of violence – so long as it’s aligned with his agenda – is just fine with the “President” of the United States.
Trump also said something more specific yesterday. During a televised White House event he made a point of railing against “globalists.” On the far right, that’s code for Jews. Want proof? After Trump said the word “globalists” his supporters in the room began yelling out the name of George Soros, a prominent Jew who’s blamed by the alt-crazies for pretty much everything going on in the world. Then they chanted “lock him up” about Soros. Then Trump repeated it: “lock him up.” His message couldn’t be more clear: Jews like Soros should be punished just for being Jews like Soros. This reinforced what Trump said last year about: there were “very fine people on both sides” of the pro-Nazi and anti-Nazi debate.
Sure enough, a guy opened fire in a Pittsburgh synagogue today. Then, by all accounts, he told police that he was looking to kill as many Jews as possible. We’ll see if this guy was specifically a Donald Trump supporter or not – but that doesn’t even matter. The point is that the President of the United States confirmed yesterday that he has no problem with people carrying out political or ideological violence in general, and then he announced that Jews should be punished. Trump isn’t just to blame for this violence; he’s giving these people instructions.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report