After a slew of bomb threats forced evacuations at Jewish community centers and schools in 11 states on Monday, President Trump reportedly suggested that the threats may have been done to “make others look bad.”
Billy Penn and Buzzfeed interviewed Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro after he met with Trump at the White House on Tuesday. Shapiro, a Democrat, quoted Trump as saying the bomb threats may have come from “the reverse” in order to “make others look bad.”
“He used the word ‘reverse’ I would say two to three times in his comments,” Shapiro told Billy Penn. “I really don’t know what he means, and I don’t know why he said that.”
Shapiro was among a number of state attorneys general who met with Trump just two days after a Jewish cemetery was vandalized in Philadelphia, and a week after a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis was also ransacked. Police have not made arrests in either case.
During the meeting, Shapiro said Trump also called the wave of anti-Semitic attacks “reprehensible” and said he would discuss the matter further during a speech before the joint session of Congress tonight.
Both the White House and the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office have not responded to requests from The Daily Beast for comment.
Trump and his administration have recently taken to blaming both the previous administration and paid activists for a slew of consistent protests against his policies throughout the first month of his presidency.
During an interview with Fox and Friends on Tuesday morning, Trump blamed former President Obama for protests and leaks that have come out.
“I think he is behind it,” Trump said. “I also think it’s just politics. That’s just the way it is.”
During a daily press briefing last week, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer also said that recent uproar from constituents at congressional town-hall meetings across the country were partially due to a “professional protester manufactured base.”
“I think some people are clearly upset but there is a bit of professional protester manufactured base in there,” Spicer said. “Obviously there are people that are upset, but I also think that when you look at some of these districts and some of these things, that it is not a representation of a member's district or an incident.’
Similarly, Breitbart, which was previously run by White House strategist Steve Bannon, has published recent stories claiming that liberal billionaire donor George Soros provided scripts for anti-Trump town halls. Soros is also a frequent boogeyman of the conspiratorial and Trump-loving site InfoWars.
The White House has not provided any evidence supporting their claims.
Trump has taken umbrage to the suggestion that his presidency and campaign emboldened anti-Semitism in the United States. During a January press conference, the president responded angrily to an admittedly favorable Orthodox Jewish reporter and told him to "sit down" when he was asked about the wave of bomb threats against Jewish centers.
"So here’s the story, folks. No. 1, I am the least anti-Semitic person that you’ve ever seen in your entire life," Trump said, adding later, "I find it repulsive. I hate even the question because people that know me."
Earlier on Tuesday, Trump’s former campaign fundraiser Anthony Scaramucci suggested on Twitter that Democrats may be responsible for some of the threats against the Jewish community.
Scaramucci did not respond to requests for comment, but he attempted to walk back his statement on Twitter.
“I have stood with and will stand for the Jewish People for my entire life,” he wrote later in the day. “Those that know me know.”
“Ich bin ein Jude,” Scaramucci also wrote which means “I am a Jew,” in German.
A spokesperson for the Democratic National Committee issued a statement on Tuesday afternoon condemning Trump’s remarks.
“Unfortunately, this recent denial fits in with a clear pattern that we have seen from Trump, which includes dismissing Jewish reporters asking about violence, refusing to include a reference to Jews’ suffering in the White House’s official statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day, failing to denounce David Duke, tweeting Anti-Semitic imagery, and elevating white nationalist Steve Bannon as his top advisor,” DNC spokesperson Eric Walker said.
Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, responded by saying: "We are astonished by what the President reportedly said. It is incumbent upon the White House to immediately clarify these remarks."