Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro called upon President Donald Trump on Tuesday to condemn the growing number of anti-Semitic incidents when he met a number of attorneys general earlier in the day.
Trump said the incidents were “reprehensible” and indicated he would address the matter when he spoke before Congress that night, according to Shapiro.
“I’d like him to say we’ll have zero tolerance policy for hate crimes like this,” said Shapiro during a conference call. “That it’s cowardice when people hide behind technology which makes it unclear where they’re calling from.
“We need to be united as Americans against this type of threat and intimidation. A threat against one particular group based on what they look like is a threat against all.”
Shapiro indicated Trump did not clarify how he’ll convey his message, but was puzzled by Trump implying there might be some other ulterior motive behind the wave of threats, which now number 100 in 33 states.
“He just said, ‘Sometimes it’s the reverse, to make people — or to make others — look bad,'” Shapiro said. “He used the word ‘reverse’ I would say two to three times in his comments. I really don’t know what he means, or why he said that.”
That cryptic terminology drew a strong reaction from the Anti-Defamation League.
“We are astonished by what the president reportedly said,” according to a statement from ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt. “It is incumbent upon the White House to immediately clarify these remarks. In light of the ongoing attacks on the Jewish community, it is also incumbent upon the president to lay out in his speech tonight his plans for what the federal government will do to address this rash of anti-Semitic incidents.”
On Feb. 27, Pennsylvania was hit with a rash of bomb threats, which included the Stern Center at Perelman Jewish Day School. Jewish Community Centers in Wynnewood, Harrisburg and York also were evacuated.
The day before that, more than 100 gravestones were damaged at Mount Carmel Cemetery in Northeast Philadelphia.
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