Pritzker to attend memorial for synagogue victims

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ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Tuesday, Governor J.B. Pritzker scolded President Trump’s 2017 “both sides” rhetoric after Saturday’s shooting at a synagogue in California.

The FBI has now charged a 19-year-old nursing student with a hate crime after he burst into a Passover service in Poway, California. A 60-year-old woman was killed with a semi-automatic rifle and three others at the service, including the rabbi, were wounded.

According to the FBI, the suspected shooter posted an anti-Semitic manifesto on a website commonly used to spread racist messages. In the posts, the shooter claims he drew inspiration from similar shootings at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, and at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand.

“I think many of you understand what that tragedy means to everybody in the nation,” Pritzker said during a Tuesday morning press conference. “People in the house of worship are under attack. It has happened before. It is happening now again. The Jewish community, just as the Muslim community, just as Christians, are under attack.

“In a country, in our nation, where we all believe the arc of history bends toward justice, we’re in a moment where it feels like we’re taking steps backward. It’s a time when the rhetoric at the national level is wrong.

“Here we had a madman really who took as an example of a tragedy in New Zealand to then go after this synagogue and the people who were worshipping there. I wanted to meet with the leaders of the Chabad here in Illinois and did so yesterday. I wanted to make sure that we’re on the same page that this government, the state of Illinois, will stand up for parishioners and for houses of worship to help them develop security plans, to make sure that they are secure, that all of our law enforcement are on alert about the attacks that are going on against houses of worship.

“My intention with the Chabad here in Springfield is the carry that same message. Hate has no place here in Illinois. We’re going to secure people who want to worship. They should be open places. The job, in a way, of a house of worship is to be there for anybody and to be open. I want to make sure that they are open, but I also want to make sure we don’t have tragedies like that here in Illinois.

A reporter asked the governor if he thought the president encourages hate crimes with his rhetoric. Pritzker, who is the third Jewish governor to lead the Land of Lincoln, responded that the president may not realize the impact or influece of his words.

“I’m saying that the President doesn’t understand,” he responded. “He made some statements that I’m glad he made in the wake of the shooting. I think he made those statements yesterday. But his entire orientation has been one that seems to accept that, you know… You heard it in Charlottesville that “there are good people on both sides.” No. When there are civil rights marchers on one side and there are neo-Nazis on the other, there aren’t good people on both sides, there are good people on one side.”

During a campaign rally in Wisconsin on Saturday, Trump offered his “deepest sympathies” to “the families and loved ones.”

“Looks like a hate crime,” Trump said. “Hard to believe, hard to believe.”

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