President Trump on Saturday strongly condemned the deadly mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue as “pure evil” and anti-Semitic, and then, without skipping a beat, slipped into campaign mode with attacks on trade deals, a discourse on palm trees and a dig at a potential 2020 rival.
Just over a week before midterm elections, the president traveled to Indiana for a convention speech and later a political rally in Illinois, though he joked about canceling both events because of a “bad hair day.”
“This wicked act of mass murder is pure evil, hard to believe and frankly something that is unimaginable, our nation and the world are shocked,” Trump told the audience at the National FFA Organization event, adding that the “vile, hate-filled poison of anti-Semitism” must be rejected, as should all prejudice.
The president said that the shooting that left at least 11 dead and six wounded occurred at a baby-naming ceremony, which happens when an infant is eight days old.
It was the second time in less than a week that a horrific act shocked the nation — law enforcement arrested and charged a Florida man with sending mail bombs to prominent Democrats on Friday — and Americans awaited the president’s words of comfort and reassurance.
Upon arriving in Murphysboro, Ill., Trump said he would travel to Pittsburgh, though he did not offer specifics on timing. He also defended his campaign schedule, saying, “we cannot let our schedule or our lives change.”
His appearance came on behalf of Rep. Mike Bost (R-Ill.), who is locked in a close race, and Trump called the midterms “the most important . . . perhaps ever.”
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SOURCE: The Washington Post, Seung Min Kim, Katie Zezima and Amy B Wang