One madman killed 11 Jewish-Americans on Saturday in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, while another one mailed crude pipe bombs to a dozen top Democratic leaders and advocates earlier in the week. So, come Sunday, mainstream media figures quickly put the blame squarely on … who else? President Donald Trump.
“Across social media, hate speech and anti-Semitism are rampant and on the rise — all against the backdrop of the ugliest political climate in modern times. At the center, an unapologetically incendiary president, untrammeled by traditional norms of civility,” said host George Stephanopoulos (pictured above left) during the opening of ABC’s “This Week.”
Stephanopoulos had a long career before joining ABC as a partisan for former President Bill Clinton, former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt, and 1988 Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis.
Former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, though not quite as direct as Stephanopoulos, still left no doubt about where he places blame for one national tragedy and one near-catastrophe.
“The attack yesterday and the attempted pipe bombings over the course of last week should be a wake-up call to all Americans to demand change. And change has to start at the top,” Johnson told Stephanopoulos.
Similarly, ABC contributor Matthew Dowd said, “I think that what Trump has done over the course of the last few years is help foment this.”
The ABC contributor then tried to back away from directly accusing the president, claiming he didn’t mean Trump was responsible per se for the bombs mailed or the murders committed.
But he insisted both perpetrators are “white supremacists” who were inspired by Trump’s rhetoric.
On CNN’s “State of the Union” (SOTU) with host Jake Tapper, New York Times deputy Washington editor Jonathan Weisman, a onetime press secretary for former Rep. Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky (D-Pa.), sounded the same note as Dowd.
“If you foment hate and … anti-Semitic or the bigoted followers feel that you’re on their side, you are not just doing something cosmetic,” Weisman told Tapper. “You are actually doing something very real. I think what is happening right now is a product of the last three years or more but is now bursting forward.”
There was some pushback on Trump’s behalf, but it came from former members of his administration, not other journalists.
“This president took incredible grief for standing with the people of Israel, globally, was condemned for standing with the people of Israel,” said David Urban, a former Trump campaign strategist, on SOTU in response to Weisman. Urban was referring to Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“We must stand with our Jewish brothers and sisters to defeat anti-Semitism and vanquish the forces of hate.”
“You don’t think it matters that he has grandchildren who are Jewish? Or that his cabinet is half-Jewish … you can call him a lot of things, but ‘anti-Semite’ isn’t one. The crazy guy who did this was rallying against Trump for being ‘controlled by Jews.’”
Urban was referring to the alleged Pittsburgh shooter Robert D. Bowers.
On “This Week,” former Trump homeland security adviser Tom Bossert pushed back against Dowd, pointing to the president’s call on Saturday, following the Pittsburgh shooting, for an end to hatred and political violence.
Bossert reminded Dowd that distrust of the president could thwart that change from happening.
“That’s where we are,” Bossert said. “That doesn’t mean we can hang a mass murder around Trump’s neck.”
Also on SOTU, Silicon Valley billionaire and Democratic funder Tom Steyer (pictured above right) laid into Trump, calling the president’s condemnation of political violence and anti-Semitism “appropriate,” but adding that “there’s something much bigger that’s going on here.”
That bigger “something,” according to Steyer, is “the atmosphere that he’s created and the Republican Party has created in terms of political violence. And I think if you look across the entire political scene, what you see is routine, systematic lawlessness, an attempt to break small-D democratic norms in pursuit of victory at all costs.”
Steyer added: “We see it in voter suppression, we see it in extreme gerrymandering, we see it in the violent political rhetoric that people have been alluding to all morning, but more than that, we see it in a president who has broken the law as a candidate, as a business person and as a president.”
The onslaught against Trump came despite his remarks during a Make America Great Again rally in Murphysboro, Illinois.
He called for the death penalty for such crimes.
The “evil anti-Semitic attack is an assault on all of us— it’s an assault on humanity,” Trump said. “It will require all of us working together to extract the hateful poison of anti-Semitism from our world.”
“This was an anti-Semitic attack at its worst. The scourge of anti-Semitism cannot be ignored. It cannot be tolerated, and it cannot be allowed to continue. We cannot allow it to continue.”
“It must be confronted and condemned everywhere it rears its very ugly head. We must stand with our Jewish brothers and sisters to defeat anti-Semitism and vanquish the forces of hate. That’s what it is.”
Trump’s daughter Ivanka converted to the Orthodox Jewish faith when she married Jared Kushner, a practicing Jew. The Kushners are heavily involved in Trump’s administration, with Ivanka pushing policies and programs aimed at helping professional women, and Jared focusing on seeking a settlement of the Palestinian issue in the Middle East.
Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and a regular contributor to LifeZette.