Home Perspectives Opinions Taube: Donald Trump isn’t to blame for what happened in Pittsburgh

Taube: Donald Trump isn’t to blame for what happened in Pittsburgh

U.S. President Donald Trump gives a speech during a visit to Israel in 2017. (U.S. EMBASSY TEL AVIV PHOTO)

Is U.S. President Donald Trump responsible for every assassin’s bullet, terrorist plot, hate crime and murderous crime spree that’s recently occurred in his country? The obvious answer is “no,” but that hasn’t stopped hordes of (mostly) left-leaning Americans from believing the opposite.

Trump was partially blamed for the unexploded letter bombs sent in October to former U.S. president Barack Obama, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, actor Robert De Niro and financier George Soros, among others. Why? The suspect appears to have been a supporter, and his targets were all critics of Trump’s presidency.

Trump is surely going to be partially blamed for any violence associated with the migrant caravan that’s heading from Guatemala to the U.S. border. That’s because, after heated debates about breaking up migrant families and building a border wall with Mexico, Trump’s critics believe his statement that “criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in” with the caravan is a way to justify sending in the U.S. military.

Trump’s also being partially blamed for the horrifying murder of 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.


The suspected gunman, Robert Bowers, was carrying an AR-15 rifle and three handguns when he burst into the synagogue on Oct. 27. He reportedly shouted, “All Jews must die!” and opened fire during Shabbat services. After a brief shoot-out with police, he was apprehended and charged with 29 federal crimes and 36 state crimes.

The death penalty is legal in Pennsylvania. If Bowers is found guilty, I can think of no better fate than to end the life of someone who stole life from others.

Some people are searching for answers in this period of grief. Others are laying blame at not only the feet of the shooter, but anything else that could be tied to this horrible act – including the president.

Yet, Trump isn’t anti-Semitic. His daughter, Ivanka Trump, converted to Judaism when she married Jared Kushner, and their two children – President Trump’s grandchildren – are being raised as Jews. Several members of his White House – including Kushner, Stephen Miller and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin – are Jewish. And Trump supports Israel, as evidenced by the fact that he recently moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.

A man kneels to light a candle beneath a police cordon outside the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Oct. 27.. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images/JTA)

Meanwhile, Bowers didn’t even support, or vote for, Trump, due to the president’s relationship with the Jews. As he wrote on the controversial social media platform Gab, “Trump is a globalist, not a nationalist. There is no #MAGA as long as there is a kike infestation.”

Yes, Trump has helped set a particular tone with his offensive remarks and inappropriate behaviour. But America’s nasty, vicious and politically charged atmosphere existed long before he took office. The presidencies of Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and George W. Bush, as you may recall, witnessed heightened levels of racial and religious tensions, as well.

The fragile bubble was eventually going to burst. Trump played a role in that, but so did many politicians, media personalities, Hollywood celebrities and average Joes.

In reality, the president is about as responsible for what happened in Pittsburgh as he was for the letter bombs and will be for the migrant caravan. That is to say, not at all.

There’s an important lesson to be learned here. Let’s see if Trump’s critics can figure it out.

Fortunately, not everyone is going to play this silly blame game.

After the left-wing alliance Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice said that Trump wasn’t welcome in Pittsburgh until he denounced white nationalism, Rabbi Jeffery Myers of the Tree of Life synagogue took the high road, saying that, “The President of the United States is always welcome. I’m a citizen. He’s my president. He is certainly welcome.”

There’s an important lesson to be learned here. Let’s see if Trump’s critics can figure it out.