Thursday, 15 Nov 2018

Pence: Do not tie political rhetoric to the shooting of the Pittsburgh Synagogue

A crowd gathers in the Squirrel Hill section in Pittsburgh during a memorial vigil in honor of the victims of the shooting in the synagogue of the Tree of Life, where a gunman opened fire Saturday. (Gene J. Puskar / AP)

Vice President Pence rejected claims that the inflammatory rhetoric of President Trump and other Republican figures would have contributed to the rise of political violence, saying members of both parties were engaged in heated debate .

Pence made the remarks in an interview with NBC News after Saturday's Pittsburgh Synagogue shootout, in which 11 people were killed and six injured. The incident was the deadliest attack on Jews in US history.

Several other Trump administration officials and lawmakers spoke at the appearances in the Sunday morning newscasts.

In an interview with NBC's Vaughn Hillyard, Pence denounced the shooting and said that the country has "no tolerance for the kind of anti-Semitic violence that gave birth to its ugly head today." arguing that the president "is connected to the American people because he spoke clearly".

"Everyone has their own style," Pence said in an interview broadcast Saturday. "And frankly, people on both sides of the aisle use strong language about our political differences. But I do not think you can link it to threats or violence, Vaughn. And I do not think the American people connect it. "

In the wake of last week's shootout and a series of letter bombs reportedly sent by a Trump supporter and targeting high-profile criticism of the president, some have asked Trump to tone down his speech.

Pence rejected these calls, saying "the debate is healthy in America".

"We want a free and open political debate in America, where everyone expresses themselves with passion and openness, while recognizing the difference between passionate debate and acts of violence and harm," said Pence.

The reaction of the Sunday shows to the shooting is largely divided on partisan bases.

In an appearance in "Fox News Sunday," Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen called the shooting "pure act of evil."

"You heard that from the President and the Vice President yesterday, that's what it is" "We condemn all of this in the strongest possible terms."

Nielsen said his agency made a site visit to the synagogue as recently as March, with a protective security advisor – a step that authorities often take, she said.

Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), The House of Representatives' House Intelligence Committee's top intelligence official, said the motivation of the alleged murderer, Robert D. Bowers, 46, "Certainly . . . pretty clear. "

Bowers seems to be insurgent against the Jewish people and refugees online.

Schiff also raised the issue of the current political climate in the country, asking, "What kind of climate are we creating?"

"Nobody sets the tone any more than the president of the United States. . . It does not escape the tone it gives, "said Schiff.


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