President Donald Trump and other politicians have reacted to reports of a mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.
Trump tweeted just minutes after news of the shooting broke: ‘Watching the events unfolding in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Law enforcement on the scene. People in Squirrel Hill area should remain sheltered. Looks like multiple fatalities. Beware of active shooter. God Bless All!’
An hour later he tweeted: ‘Events in Pittsburgh are far more devastating than originally thought. Spoke with Mayor and Governor to inform them that the Federal Government has been, and will be, with them all the way. I will speak to the media shortly and make further statement at Future Farmers of America.’
At least eight people have died and others are injured after gunfire erupted at the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill area of Pittsburgh shortly before 10am Saturday.
The gunman, who has been identified as 46-year-old Robert Bowers, is in custody.
President Donald Trump was one of the first politicians to react on Twitter to reports of a mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh shortly before 10am on Saturday
Just before 11:30am EST Trump tweeted that he will speak to the media ‘shortly’
Speaking to the media as he boarded Air Force One on Saturday, Trump remarked that the shooting would have been ‘much better’ if there had been more security at the synagogue
At least eight people have been killed and several more injured after gunfire erupted just before 10am at the Tree of Life Synagogue. First responders are pictured on the scene
Speaking to reporters at Joint Base Andrews as he boarded Air Force One on Saturday, Trump remarked that the shooting would have been ‘much better’ if there had been more security at the synagogue.
‘If there was an armed guard inside the temple they would have been able to stop him,’ he said.
‘Maybe there would have been nobody killed except for him, frankly. Isn’t it a shame that you have to think of that inside of a temple or inside of a church? But certainly the result would have been far better.’
Asked if he thought all churches and synagogues should have armed guards, Trump responded: ‘I hate to think of it that way, I will say that.’
‘It has been a world with a lot of problems for many years and you could say frankly for many centuries,’ he said.
‘You look at what goes on and certainly you want protection. They didn’t have any protection. They had a maniac walk in and they didn’t have any protection and that is just so sad to see.’
First daughter Ivanka Trump, who converted to Judaism after marrying Jared Kushner, tweeted: ‘America is stronger than the acts of a depraved bigot and anti-semite. All good Americans stand with the Jewish people to oppose acts of terror & share the horror, disgust & outrage over the massacre in Pittsburgh. We must unite against hatred & evil. God bless those affected.’
Melania Trump also expressed sadness in a short tweet, writing: ‘My heart breaks over the news out of #Pittsburgh. The violence needs to stop. May God bless, guide & unite the United States of America.’
Vice President Mike Pence tweeted that he has been monitoring reports of the shooting and that he is ‘praying for the fallen, the injured, all the families impacted, and our courageous first responders. God bless them all’.
First daughter Ivanka Trump, who converted to Judaism after marrying Jared Kushner, tweeted urging Americans to ‘unite against hatred & evil’
Melania Trump expressed sadness at reports of the shooting in a tweet pictured above
Vice President Mike Pence tweeted that he is monitoring reports of the situation in Pittsburgh
Several celebrities have also spoken out about the shooting on social media, including Ben Stiller, who criticized the president for his comments about synagogue security.
‘No one should have to go through airport security to go to pray in a synagogue or church or a mosque. This is not the fault of the synagogue….’ the actor wrote on Twitter.
Amy Schmer also tweeted: ‘My heart is broken for the victims and loved ones of everyone affected by the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.’
Ben Stiller criticized President Trump for blaming the shooting on a lack of synagogue security
Amy Schumer tweeted that her ‘heart is broken’ for all those involved in the massacre
Pennsylvania Senator Jay Costa tweeted that he is at the scene of the shooting where ‘first responders are still actively working to help victims and clear the scene’.
He added: ‘Unfathomable violence here today at a place of worship.’
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf tweeted: ‘We are still learning details about the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh but it is a serious situation. @PAStatePolice are assisting local first responders.
‘Please stay away from the area and keep the congregants and law enforcement in your prayers.’
Senator Pat Toomey alluded to reports that the shooting was religiously motivated, writing on Twitter: ‘Synagogues & places of worship are safe havens where communities come together to celebrate, pray, & reflect. The horrific events that transpired at Tree of Life Synagogue are heartbreaking. I’m monitoring the situation.
‘My prayers are w/ the victims, their families, & friends.’
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro tweeted: ‘Leaving for Pittsburgh to be with the community, speak with leaders, & survey law enforcement’s response at the Tree of Life synagogue. The shooter claimed innocent lives – and injured first responders – at a baby naming.’
Pennsylvania Senator Jay Costa tweeted that he is on the scene of the shooting at the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill area of Pittsburgh
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf warned residents of Pittsburgh to steer clear of the area
Senator Pat Toomey reacted in horror to news of the shooting, which appears to have been religiously motivated as the gunman reportedly shouted: ‘All these Jews must die’
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro tweeted that he is on his way to Pittsburgh
Political leaders from outside the state of Pennsylvania have also expressed their sadness at news of the Saturday morning shooting.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer tweeted: ‘Another terrible tragedy. Our hearts go out to the victims, and their families, and all of the members of Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.’
Colleague Elizabeth Warren, Democratic senator from Massachusetts, wrote: ‘My heart goes out to the families of those killed today in Pittsburgh, & to the brave officers who risked their lives to protect others. The attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue was a horrific act of evil. We must recognize this hatred for what it is, & come together to fight it.’
Louisiana Representative Steve Scalise, who was shot last year at a congressional baseball game, condemned the attack as an act of anti-Semitism.
‘My heart is broken and my prayers are with the members of the Tree of Life Synagogue, the brave first responders, and all affected by this despicable act of evil and hatred,’ he wrote on Twitter.
‘This morning’s attack is a reminder that anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry still persist in our society and must be confronted and combatted at every turn.
‘Our whole nation mourns for those whose lives were taken. We send heartfelt prayers for the healing of those who survive, and we stand together with the Jewish community of Pittsburgh and all the good people of western Pennsylvania.’
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee tweeted: ‘The horrific, anti-Semitic hate crime in a synagogue on Shabbat leaves me deeply saddened for our country. Only Satan himself can author such destruction upon innocent worshipers. Today, we are all Jews and stand with Tree of Life synagogue.’
Virginia senator and former vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine tweeted: ‘My heart breaks for all impacted by the horrific act of evil in Pittsburgh. We must counter vicious anti-Semitism with love and unity. To the Tree of Life Synagogue and Squirrel Hill community, we stand with you.’
Former US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley tweeted: ‘My heart breaks for the families and community of the Tree Of Life Synagogue. An attack on the most sacred of places is the cruelest and most cowardly act a person can do. There is and will never be any tolerance for hate. #PrayersforPeace.’
Texas Senator Ted Cruz wrote: ‘A horrific shooting took place this morning at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh as Jews were gathered during Shabbat services. Heidi and I are praying for the victims and their families, the entire Jewish community in Pittsburgh, and our brave members of law enforcement.’
California Representative Adam Schiff took a more political tone than the others, tweeting: ‘It’s not too soon to say I’m horrified those worshipping at a synagogue were targeted and murdered. It’s not too soon to say we’re grateful for the first responders who risked their lives. And it’s not too soon to say that it’s in our power to take action against gun violence.’
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders drew a connection to a 2015 shooting at a Charleston church
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren cried out for action against ‘this hatred’
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called the shooting ‘another terrible tragedy’
California Representative Adam Schiff reacted to the shooting with a more political tone
Louisiana Representative Steve Scalise also condemned the attack as an act of anti-Semitism
Former Arkansas Governor and Fox News host Mike Huckabee said: ‘Only Satan himself can author such destruction upon innocent worshipers (sic)’
Former vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine tweeted his condolences to those affected
Former US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley also tweeted about the shooting
At least three police officers were shot during the active shooter situation Saturday morning
The Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill area of Pittsburgh is shown above (stock image)