U.S. President Donald Trump has been widely criticized for not speaking out forcefully enough against the recent wave of anti-Semitic threats, as well as the fatal shooting of an Indian immigrant in Kansas last week.
He attempted to remedy this oversight in his first speech to the U.S. Congress Tuesday evening, condemning the bomb threats and acts of vandalism against Jewish communities, as well as the Kansas shooting that also left two injured.
“Recent threats targeting Jewish community centres and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as last week’s shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms,” Trump said in his opening remarks.
Earlier Tuesday, Trump reportedly suggested that the threats against Jewish centres may have been false flag operations designed “to make others look bad,” according to according to Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who attended a White House meeting with other state law enforcement officials.
Shapiro, a Democrat, said Trump called the threats “reprehensible,” but then added that “the reverse could be true.”
WATCH: 2 bomb threats at local Jewish schools in US; both hoaxes
Trump has also been slammed by civil rights groups for not discussing the killing of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, the Indian-born engineer who was shot inside a bar in Olathe, Kansas on Feb. 22.
Witnesses told investigators that accused shooter Adam Purinton yelled at Kuchibhotla and another Indian man to “get out of my country” before opening fire.
On Monday, the editorial board of the Kansas City Star slammed Trump for not offering condolences to Kuchibhotla’s grieving widow.
“Tuesday night, the country and the world will be watching when Trump addresses a joint session of Congress. He should use the opportunity to thoughtfully —and belatedly — address this brazen act of violence,” read the article.
— With files from Reuters