You should be horrified but not surprised that the 14 potential bombs mailed to prominent Democrats and the slaughter of 11 Jews in Pittsburgh — by an alleged assailant seemingly convinced by right-wing conspiracies that Jews are behind the migrant caravan — have taught President Trump Donald nothing. In fact, he is back to his old tricks before the Squirrel Hill bodies are even all buried.
The Washington Post reports:
"President Trump lashed out anew Monday at the news media, calling it "the true Enemy of the People," and he again blamed what he called "fraudulent" reporting for anger that has led to a spate of recent violence in the country.
"The president's latest invective on Twitter comes as he faces calls to tone down his public statements amid criticism that his attacks on political rivals and the media bear some culpability for the current climate."
It doesn’t matter how many bombs his acolytes send to CNN or other news outlets, nor how many people are killed, because twisted minds take his and Fox News’s fear-mongering about immigrants seriously. He is incapable of self-reflection, and no one around him has the will or inclination to get him to stop. He cheerily reports on a phone call with the right-wing nationalist president-elect of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, who attacks minorities, gays and women. He even revives the caravan harangue, which allegedly at least partly motivated Saturday’s mass murder, tweeting:
"Many Gang Members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan heading to our Southern Border. Please go back, you will not be admitted into the United States unless you go through the legal process. This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!"
Trump's conduct is detestable, yet no prominent Republicans denounce him. They cannot escape responsibility for enabling him. No tax cut or Supreme Court appointment can make up for any of this.
I'm gratified to see the rabbi from Tree of Life synagogue speak out. "It starts with speech," Rabbi Jeffrey Myers said at an interfaith vigil Sunday night. "It has to start with you as our leaders. My words are not intended as political fodder. I address all equally. Stop the words of hate." Right now, the one spewing hate is the president; no prominent Democrat is demonizing the media or immigrants. No Democrat is hugging a neo-fascist foreign leader.
It pains me to see that more than 30,000 people have signed a petition telling Trump not to come to Pittsburgh - not because I don’t share their revulsion, but because I do. They don’t want Trump coming not because of his views on health care or Israel or taxes. All they are asking for is a modicum of decency. He makes their pain worse; his presence would suggest the country asks nothing more of him than reading from a teleprompter.
The Post reports:
"More than 30,000 people have signed an open letter to President Trump from the leaders of a Pittsburgh-based Jewish group who say the president will not be welcome in the city unless he denounces white nationalism and stops "targeting" minorities after a mass shooting Saturday at a local synagogue left 11 dead.
"The letter, which was published and shared on Sunday, was written by 11 members of the Pittsburgh affiliate of Bend the Arc, a national organization for progressive Jews focused on social justice, following what is being called the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history. The shooting at Tree of Life synagogue also left several people injured, including law enforcement."
Trump cannot comply with the request to stop spreading hate. It’s like breathing oxygen for him. He cannot show empathy, for he lacks any. Trump has not merely split us by race, ideology, party, religion or origin of birth; to be with him is to endorse or condone or willfully ignore monstrous conduct and rhetoric. To be against him - and to speak out the bile he spews - is to give us hope for America’s moral and political recovery.
Jennifer Rubin writes reported opinion from a center-right perspective for The Washington Post. @JRubinBlogger