“Recent threats targeting Jewish Community Centers 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, beginning his address before a joint session of Congress.
The comments were Trump’s first public acknowledgment of the attack Wednesday at a restaurant in the Kansas City suburb of Olathe, Kansas. The suspect, Adam Purinton, 51, allegedly confronted his two victims, used “racial slurs” and told them “get out of my country,” before returning with a handgun and opening fire, police said.
Purinton faces charges of first-degree murder in the slaying of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, as well as attempted first-degree murder in the shooting of Alok Madasani, 32, and Ian Grillot, 24, a bystander who intervened. Kuchibhotla and Madasani were both born in India. The FBI is investigating the shooting as a hate crime.
Trump had come under criticism for not being more forceful in denouncing a wave of anti-Semitic incidents and other hate incidents since his election. Although a White House spokesman released a statement on Tuesday denouncing the Kansas shooting, the Kansas City Star called for Trump to address the attack personally.
“During such moments of crisis, people look to the president for strength and guidance,” the newspaper’s editorial board wrote on Monday. “They need to hear their moral outrage articulated, the condemnation of a possible hate crime and the affirmation that the U.S. values everyone’s contributions, whether you’re an immigrant or native-born.”