This is what happened in 72 hours in America last week:
An avid supporter of President Donald Trump filled with right wing rage mails pipe bombs to at least 12 Democratic leaders and critics of President Donald Trump.
In response to the mail bombs sent to prominent figures including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and the news network CNN, President Trump attacks the media and gives credence to right wing conspiracy theories, claiming the attempted attacks as a “false flag” planted by the left ahead of the November 6 elections.
Trump tweeted: “Republicans are doing so well in early voting, and at the polls, and now this ‘Bomb’ stuff happens and the momentum greatly slows – news not talking politics. Very unfortunate, what is going on. Republicans, go out and vote!”
The president’s use of quotation marks around the word bomb helped to give credence to conspiracy theories.
Shortly after the bombing suspect was arrested the nation was shocked by another domestic terrorist attack.
A gunman armed with an AR-15 semi-automatic and other weapons stormed into a Pittsburgh synagogue yelling all “Jews must die” before killing 11 congregants and injuring six people including four police officers. The shooting is believed to be the deadliest attack against the Jewish community in United States history.
The suspect, Robert Bowers, 48, blamed Jews for helping transport members of the migrant caravans toward the United States.
A look at the shooter’s social media pages show that he espoused a more extreme version of the anti-immigrant views put forward by Trump, and regarded Trump as not a real nationalist because he had appointed Jews to his White House staff.
The president’s initial response was that the synagogue should have had armed guns, essentially blaming the victims for their own deaths. He was repeating remarks similar to what he made after the Parkland, Florida school shooting earlier this year, calling for armed police in the schools. He did not say a single word about anti-Semitism instead he resorted to talking points by the National Rifle Association.
This is appalling and unacceptable.
But we have come to expect this from a president whose solution to gun violence is to make more guns available.
A less known story is no less disturbing.
A white man walks into a store in Kentucky and kills two Black people hours after attempting to gain access into a Black church. Authorities are investigating the killings as hate crime.
The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that the number of hate crimes and hate groups has increased since Trump became president.
The Anti-Defamation League found that 2017 saw a nearly 60 percent surge in reported anti-Semitic incidents—which came on top of a 35 percent increase the year before.
Racists and anti-Semites feel emboldened to publicly express their hatred because they believe the president is sympathetic to their views.
Why would they believe this?
Trump said there were “very fine people” on both sides at the white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville last year where demonstrators shouted “Jews won’t replace us.”
The president has blamed billionaire Democratic donor George Soros, who is Jewish, for conspiring to bring in illegal immigrants to the United States. Trump calls himself a nationalist and attacks ‘globalists.’ Does the president not realize that the word ‘globalist’ is a code word used by anti-Semites and white nationalists? Or does he not care as long as he can score political points?
Should we be surprised that Trump’s constant endorsement of hate against the other and fear- mongering is inspiring unbalanced men to target for attack top Democrats, the media and a synagogue? This is not a surprise. It was inevitable.
To be clear the public expression of hatred did not start with Trump and it won’t end when he is out of office.
But a president’s conduct matters. He sets the moral tone for the nation.
In his cynical pursuit of political power, Trump has gone beyond partisan political talk and sunk into the demagoguery of racial minorities, foreigners and prominent Jewish political figures.
Americans must speak out and oppose the normalization of hate.