Trump Says Synagogue Shooting Could Have Been Prevented With “Armed Guards”

Four police officers were shot during the incident.

CNN

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.

When President Trump was asked about the mass shooting this morning at a Pittsburgh synagogue that left eight dead, he told reporters that greater security inside the synagogue, not stricter gun laws, could have prevented the tragedy. 

“This is a case where if they had an armed guard inside, they would have been able to stop him immediately,” the president said. “Maybe there would have been nobody killed.”

Four police officers were shot in a confrontation with the assailant. 

When a reporter asked if it was time to revisit federal gun reform legislation, Trump brushed the suggestion aside. “Well again, this has little to do with it,” he said. “If they had protection inside, the results would have been far better.”

In response to a question about what should be done about the continuous cycle of mass shootings in this country, the president suggested stricter corporal punishment. “We should stiffen up our laws in terms of the death penalty,” the president replied. “They should pay the ultimate price.”

Trump characterized the shooter as “a madman, a whacko” a blamed a “violent world” for the loss of life at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh earlier today.

President Trump has expressed conflicting opinions on the subject of gun control since the February school shooting in Parkland, Florida, reawakened national outcry for the federal government to act. The day after the Parkland massacre, the president blamed the shooting on the gunman’s mental health and called for arming teachers in a speech the following week. But he has also demonstrated interest in stronger federally mandated background checks—the central aim of gun violence prevention activists—during a roundtable with victims of gun violence at the end of February. Congress has not passed any significant federal gun reform legislation since the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, that left 26 dead.

The president says he will address the shooting during his remarks at the Future Farmers of America conference in Indianapolis, where he is scheduled to appear at 2:30 pm this afternoon.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.