President Donald Trump’s reported comments to Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro about the recent threats against Jewish Community Centers have sparked controversy.
Shapiro, who is a democrat, was among the many state attorneys general from across the country who met with President Trump at the White House Tuesday. Shapiro told NBC10 he asked Trump about the recent threats against minority communities, including threats on Jewish Community Centers that prompted evacuations in the Philadelphia area and South Jersey.
“The President first condemned the threats and intimidation then also suggested the “reverse” may be true and that he planned to address the matter in his remarks tonight,” Shapiro said. “I don’t know what the President meant by that statement but I am grateful that the President took the time to meet with the attorneys general and was willing to take questions from us. I asked my question because we need a strong commitment that the U.S. Department of Justice will work with the states to help find and prosecute the individuals for these acts of hate.”
Shapiro’s summary of his conversation with the president sparked controversy with some expressing confusion while others went so far as to accuse Trump of suggesting that the threats were made to frame his supporters.
Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, told BuzzFeed News they were “astonished by what the President reportedly said.”
“It is incumbent upon the White House to immediately clarify these remarks,” Greenblatt said.
Trump directly addressed the incidents at the beginning of his first presidential address to Congress Tuesday night.
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"Recent threats targeting Jewish Community Centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as last week's shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms," Trump said.
"Each American generation passes the torch of truth, liberty and justice - in an unbroken chain all the way down to the present. That torch is now in our hands, and we will use it to light up the world."