One day after self-identified Donald Trump supporter Cesar Sayoc was arrested for sending bombs to Trump’s favorite Democratic political targets, a man named Robert Bowers has been arrested for shooting up a Jewish synagogue in Pittsburgh. Based on Bowers’ social media postings, various claims have been made that he’s pro-Trump or anti-Trump. In our fact check, we get to the bottom of the matter.
Robert Bowers was, unmistakably, an antisemitic extremist; multiple major media outlets have reported that after he surrendered today, he confirmed to police that he had been specifically looking to kill Jews. His posts on social media site Gab further confirm this. They also spell out his views toward Donald Trump. For instance, Bowers make this Gab post, which includes an offensive ethnic slur against Jews: “Trump is a globalist, not a nationalist. There is no MAGA as long as there is a kike infestation.”
Donald Trump has routinely pushed far-right nationalist rhetoric for as long as he’s been involved in politics. For this first time this week, Trump began referring to himself as a “nationalist.” Just yesterday he denounced “globalists” during a televised event at the White House. Some of his supporters in the audience yelled “George Soros” in response, in reference to a prominent Jew whom they blame for globalism in the United States. As has previously been thoroughly documented by The Atlantic, “globalist” has long been far-right antisemitic code for “Jewish.”
In other words, Donald Trump and Robert Bowers are absolutely on the same side here: xenophobic far-right nationalism. Based on his own words, Bowers was only frustrated with Trump for not being enough of a far-right nationalist. It’s false to suggest that Bowers was “anti-Trump” because that would imply that he was either on the left, or that he was a conservative who found Trump to be too extreme. What is true is that Bowers was in fact aligned with Trump politically, and simply took Trump’s extremist views to an even further extreme.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report