President Donald Trump said the outcome of a synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh on Saturday morning “would have been far better” if the synagogue had more armed protection inside.
“This is a case where if they had an armed guard inside, they might have been able to stop him immediately,” Trump told reporters just hours after the shooting. “If they had protection inside, the results would have been far better.”
The shooting left eight dead and several others injured.
Trump also said those who commit violence inside houses of worship should receive the death penalty.
“When people do this, they should get the death penalty and they shouldn’t have to wait years and years,” he said. “They should pay the ultimate price.”
The president repeatedly referred to the synagogue shooter, identified as 46-year-old Robert Bowers, as a “wacko,” a “maniac” and “crazy.” Bowers was taken into custody.
President Trump, asked about gun laws, says the Pittsburgh synagogue should have had armed security at the bris and the gunman wouldn’t be able to do what he did pic.twitter.com/y9Cq59wPM5
— Justin Fenton (@justin_fenton) October 27, 2018
Trump’s comments drew condemnation on social media from many who saw him as blaming the synagogue for the incident. U.S. Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., criticised the president for a “lack of empathy.”
Trump’s plan to combat these tragedies is to put guns and armed guards in places of worship.
His lack of empathy is just staggering. https://t.co/SFTekhkTjQ
— Rep. Don Beyer (@RepDonBeyer) October 27, 2018
Tommy Vietor, a political commentator and podcaster who worked in the Obama administration, also lashed out at Trump.
The President thinks that the solution to preventing gun violence is to have armed guards at a bris. A fucking bris.
— Tommy Vietor (@TVietor08) October 27, 2018