WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump blamed the media once again Monday (Oct 29) for "division and hatred" in the country as Americans took stock of a gunman's attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue that killed 11 worshippers.
"The Fake News is doing everything in their power to blame Republicans, Conservatives and me for the division and hatred that has been going on for so long in our Country," he said on Twitter.
"There is great anger in our Country caused in part by inaccurate, and even fraudulent, reporting of the news," Trump continued. "The Fake News Media, the true Enemy of the People, must stop the open & obvious hostility & report the news accurately & fairly.
"That will do much to put out the flame of Anger and Outrage and we will then be able to bring all sides together in Peace and Harmony. Fake News Must End!"
Trump had initially called for unity in the face of Saturday's assault on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, in a week in which prominent Democrats were the targets of pipe bombs sent through the mail, allegedly by a Trump supporter in Florida.
But he quickly reverted to form, attacking the media and potential Democratic rivals for the presidency at a rally and on Twitter as Americans looked forward to crucial midterm elections Nov 6.
In an open letter Sunday, a group of Jewish leaders from Pittsburgh said Trump bore responsibility for encouraging white nationalist sentiments that led to the synagogue attack.
"For the past three years your words and your policies have emboldened a growing white nationalist movement. You yourself called the murderer evil, but yesterday's violence is the direct culmination of your influence," the open letter said.
The signers said that until Trump fully denounced white nationalism he would not be welcome in Pittsburgh.
However, Jeffrey Myers, a Tree of Life rabbi who was in the synagogue when the heavily armed gunman burst in on worshippers, said Trump would be welcome if he visited.
"The president of the United States is always welcome. I'm a citizen. He's my president. He is certainly welcome," Myers said on CNN.