President Trump condemned the anti-semitic gunman who opened fire inside a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday, killing ten people, calling the shooter a “wacko” who “should pay the ultimate price.”
When asked by a reporter whether gun control laws should be looked at in light of the shooting, Trump seemed to partially blame the high death toll on the lack of armed security at places of worship.
“Well, again, this has little to do with it, if you take a look — if they had protection inside [The Tree of Life Synagogue], the results would have been far better,” he said before departing for a rally in Illinois.
“This is a dispute that will always exist, I suspect, but if they had some kind of a protection inside the temple, maybe it could have been a very much different situation. They didn’t. And unfortunately [the alleged shooter] was able to do things he shouldn’t have been able to do.”
“They might’ve been able to stop him immediately if there was an armed guard,” Trump claimed. “Maybe there would’ve been nobody killed except for him, frankly.”
President Trump: "This would be a case for if there was an armed guard inside the temple, they would've been able to stop him, maybe there would've been nobody killed except for him" pic.twitter.com/dxf45rGhXr
— NBC News (@NBCNews) October 27, 2018
A shooter, identified as 46-year-old Rob Bowers, opened fire on the Pittsburgh synagogue during a Shabbat service Saturday morning, shooting at least 12 and killing at least eight. Bowers reportedly shouted “all Jews must die” before opening fire with an AR-15 and several handguns.
The shooter injured at least three officers who confronted the gunman. Bowers has been taken into custody.
Asked about the perpetual cycle violence seen in the US lately, Trump said: “Trump: Well, it’s a violence — you look at the violence all over the world. I mean, the world has violence. The world is a violent world. And you think when you’re over it, it just sort of goes away, but then it comes back in the form of a mad man, a whacko.”
He continued: “I think one thing we should do is stiffen up laws in terms of the death penalty. When people do this, they should get the death penalty and shouldn’t have to wait years and years. Now the laws lawyers will get involved and everybody’s going to get involved and we’ll be ten years down the line. I think they should stiffen up laws and I think they should very much bring the death penalty into vogue. Anybody who does a thing like this to innocent people in temple, in church. We had so many incidents with churches. They should be — they should really suffer the ultimate price. They should pay the ultimate price. I felt that way for a long time. Some people disagree with me. I can’t imagine why. This has to stop. We’re going to have a statement at our stop with the young farmers.”
A reporter asked: “Towards the beginning of your presidency, you met with the NRA. You said maybe you were the president who can help solve this. Do you see that now as a possibility?”
Trump responded: “It’s a case where — again, nobody knows exactly what took place yet. It’s too soon. This is a case where they had an armed guard inside, they might have been able to stop him immediately. This had been a case where if there were an armed guard inside the temple, they would have been able to stop them. Maybe there would have been nobody killed except for him frankly. So it’s a very, very — very difficult situation. When you look at it, we can look at it two ways. Again, if he had somebody to protect people. Now, isn’t it a shame you even have to speak that way? That we even have to think of that inside a temple or inside of a church? But certainly the results might have been far better.”
Another reporter asked: “Do you think all churches and synagogues should have armed guards?”
Trump responded: “I mean, in this world, this is a world with a lot of problems. And it has been a world with a lot of problems for many years. Many, many years. You could say, frankly, for many centuries. You’re looking at what goes on, but certainly you want protection. They didn’t have any protection. They had a maniac walk in. They didn’t have any protection. That is just so sad to see. So sad to see. Results could have been much better. It is a very, very difficult thing. For me, as president, to watch any of this go, you know, before I ran for office, I’d watch incidents like this with churches and other things and think, what a shame, what a shame. But it’s even tougher when you’re the president of the United States and you have to watch this kind of a thing happen. It is so sad to see. So we’ll see you at the — with the young farmers.”
Trump has previously argued teachers should be trained and armed so they can take on would-be school shooters.
Correction: The death toll has been revised from eight to ten people on Saturday afternoon, according to Pittsburgh City Councilman Corey O’Connor’s Chief of Staff Curt Conrad.