Trump Rallies in Southern Illinois
President Donald Trump rallied loyalists in downstate Murphysboro on Saturday amid a wave of violent attacks on marginalized communities by right wing extremists.
“This was a rough, rough day for all of us. You know that,” said Trump as he opened his speech. “The hearts of all Americans are filled with grief following the monstrous killing of Jewish-Americans,” he added, “It’s horrible.”
Trump was referencing and attempting to offer condolences in the wake of a deadly mass shooting over the weekend at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood. A gunman, believed to be Robert Bowers, walked into the synagogue and opened fire with an assault rifle, killing at least 11 people and wounding half a dozen others, according to ABC6 Philadelphia. Bowers allegedly shouted anti-semitic slurs before opening fire, and prior to the attack, social media accounts linked to him posted a message that read “HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.”
HIAS is a nonprofit organization that assists refugees around the world which says it’s “guided by Jewish values and history.”
In other social media posts, Bowers claimed he didn’t support or vote for Trump, but he did spout off much of the same rhetoric that is in line with some of Trump’s most fascistic loyalists, referring to undocumented immigrants and refugees as “invaders.” If anything, it seemed that Trump wasn’t right-wing enough for Bowers, who once said that “Trump is a globalist, not a nationalist.”
The Tree of Life massacre was the third instance in just a few short days where far right extremists targeted marginalized communities or political opponents. On Friday an outspoken Trump supporter was charged with sending explosive devices to at least a dozen of the President’s critics. Earlier last week a gunman walked into a Kroger in Kentucky and killed two African Americans and when confronted during the shooting by a white man, said that “whites don’t kill whites.”
Trump, who was in Murphysboro to gin up support for Illinois Republicans in tight races, justified continuing on with his campaign rallies in the wake of the tragedies by saying he didn’t want to change his life because of “sick and evil” people.
“This is a rally for Mike Bost, and I frankly, this one maybe I could have (canceled) except I don’t want to change our life for somebody that’s sick and evil and I don’t think we ever should,” said Trump, according to the Chicago Tribune.
“We have our lives. We have our schedules. And nobody’s going to change it,” he added.
“So we’re here. And let’s have a good time. And if you don’t mind: I’m going to tone it down just a little bit.”
Trump also made a reference to the New York Stock Exchange opening up the day after the September 11th attacks, a complete lie, as the NYSE didn’t reopen after the attacks for six days.
The rest of Trump’s speech was mostly comprised of the same rhetoric he touts at his campaign rallies – accusing Democrats of wanting to abolish borders (they don’t), saying that “Medicare for all” would “obliterate Medicare” (it won’t), attacks on his political opponents or critics, and scare quotes about the Honduran migrant caravan.
Absent from Trump’s speech was any reference to Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, who attended the rally but did not appear onstage or meet with the President.
Rauner was spotted in the crowd wearing his biker costume and a “back the blue” hat.
Gov. Rauner spotted at MAGA event in Murphysboro. pic.twitter.com/7xJhw0s5KF
— Nuccio DiNuzzo (@ChiTribNuccio) October 27, 2018
Trump however, did not mention Rauner, who previously said he was hoping to meet with the President, at any point. Rauner told WGN he didn’t stay for the entire rally.
Rauner’s gubernatorial rival JB Pritzker’s campaign mocked the governor for his failed attempt at cozying up to Trump.
“Bruce Rauner is such an epic failure that even Donald Trump doesn’t want anything to do with him,” said Pritzker campaign spokesperson Jason Rubin in a statement emailed to press. “Rauner’s desperation wasn’t enough for Trump to give him a lift just days before the election, and it’s clear he is once again blaming everyone but himself.”
Chicagoans Hold Vigil For Victims in Tree of Life Mass Shooting
Hundreds of Chicagoans gathered in the Loop Sunday evening for a vigil in honor of the victims of the Tree of Life massacre in Pittsburgh that took place over the weekend.
A gunman, believed to be Robert Bowers, walked into the synagogue and opened fire with an assault rifle, killing at least 11 people and wounding half a dozen others, just after shouting anti-semitic slurs. Social media accounts linked to Bowers showed a trove of anti-semitic and other hateful rhetoric.
“We will not surrender to bigotry, violence or terror,” Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, one of several civil rights and faith based groups that organized the vigil, told NBC5. “We will always stand up to and speak out against the vile and dangerous movement that is trying to rip apart the ecumenical fabric of America.”
Remembering those who died at #TreeOfLifeSynagogue. Reaffirming our commitment to work together to end antisemitism, racism, and all forms of hate. We're in Chicago in solidarity with Pittsburgh. pic.twitter.com/1IYm9tROTF
— Indivisible Chi-South Side (@IndivChi_South) October 28, 2018
Attendees lit candles and tied tags to trees offering messages of love, condolence, and solidarity in a struggle against an increasing tide of right wing violence that targets marginalized communities.
“We are the people,” said Gearah Goldstein, who opened the program, according to the Sun-Times. “As we stand here together, we must hold love and light in our hearts because those are the forces that will extinguish the darkness and hate that has been called up in our country and around the world.”
Attendees also said they stood together with the victims of the shooting at a Kentucky Kroeger where two African Americans were killed by a white man, and the victims of violence in Chicago.
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