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Synagogue Mass Shooting in Pittsburgh; Interfaith Vigil Remembering the Victims; Race Targeted Killings, Pipe Bomb mailings, and Anti-Semitism Murders within a Week. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired October 28, 2018 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[17:00:00] (JOINED IN PROGRESS)
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Hello, I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. We want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and around the world. Thanks very much for joining us. Right now, in the heartbroken city of Pittsburgh, people of all faiths, thousands strong, they're helping and holding each other through what the mayor of Pittsburgh is calling the darkest day in Pittsburgh's history. And today, this unimaginable sadness has 11 names. The men and women shot to death this weekend during services inside a synagogue.
BLITZER: The vigil is formally getting under way right now in Pittsburgh even though people have been out in very large numbers all day long. They're sharing their sadness, their support, their unity and resolve near the place where this hateful thing happened. These are the names released by city officials this morning.
The eight men and three women killed, one of them, 97 years old. Victims of one man's hate, a man who reportedly told police officer and I'm quoting him now, "I just want to kill Jews." CNN's Sara Sidner is in Pittsburgh for us right now. Sara, first of all, tell us how people there are honoring these 11 victims and they're dealing with this horror.
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Through music, through prayers. People have been hugging one another. They have been welcoming anyone who wants to come and bring their words to this ceremony. It is an interfaith ceremony. You have people from churches, from synagogues. You have people coming in who are Muslim, who are Jewish, who are Christian.
It doesn't matter your background, your creed, your color. All are welcome and that is the message that they're truly trying to get out, not only to their own community but to the world. We have talked to some of the friends of those who were so mercilessly gunned down as they where inside of a place they thought was for peace, a synagogue -- there to pray, there to celebrate a Jewish rite, and ended up dying where they stood.
We spoke to some of these friends who told us that they felt the deepest kind of sorrow, the kind that starts on the inside and reverberates out, the kind that shakes you, the kind that shakes your faith. But for some, it made them more fiercely Jewish.
And we have heard that from one of the congregants who told us that she is proudly wearing her Star of David today and she will proudly wear that her whole life as she deals with all of the sorrow and the anger and the fear that this has brought into her heart.
We also talked to someone who knew two of the gentlemen, two brothers who would stand proudly at the synagogue, the Rosenthal brothers, and who would greet every person who came in and make them all feel welcome. We also talked to someone who knew the oldest person who was killed, 97 years old, her name was Rose.
She said look, Rose was a spry woman who was full of life, who had worked at the synagogue, who had been there for many generations in teaching people and helping people. And that it was simply too soon for her to go as well. Do not pay attention to the ages of the people who died, to really consider that these were human beings with wisdom to give, and with love still in their hearts.
This community is in deep mourning. Make no mistake about that. They are trying to process that right now. And as you're seeing, for hours now, there have been people streaming in to this memorial service at Soldiers Memorial here in Pittsburgh.
And we're talking about people from all over the city. There are people from other parts of the country who were here, from New York and even the world, from Israel, who are going to be here and speaking to those who are gathered, Wolf.
BLITZER: We know others were injured in this horrible synagogue attack, including police officers. Sara, what do we know about their conditions?
SIDNER: We are learning a little bit more about their conditions. There were four police officers who were shot and two other congregants who were shot. And we are hearing that the police officers are doing fairly well at this hour. One of the officers we know had to go through an additional surgery, but at this point, they are surviving and people are also keeping them in their prayers as well. This community is realizing that something like this can happen here.
[17:05:00] And before this, many of the people we spoke with said they never thought it could happen here. They never thought that anything would happen like this in Squirrel Hill, which is really the seat of the Jewish community here in Pittsburgh and in the surrounding areas. There are synagogues in many, many different places here and places of worship, the Jewish community center.
And by the way, we learned that some of those inside felt that they survived this partly because they had just gone through an active shooter training at the Jewish community center, that they had learned from that. And that they were potentially saved by that. So there are so many stories, Wolf. We can almost not get to them all, when you consider the number of people who have been killed.
And we should keep in mind as well that the Anti-Defamation League is now saying that this is the deadliest attack on Jewish citizens here in the United States ever, Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes, shocking to think about all of this, and really, really sad and very scary indeed. Sara Sidner, I will get back to you. Thanks very much for joining us. Now, Julia Ioffe is a correspondent for GQ magazine. And Julia, you just wrote a very powerful piece in "The Washington Post" today. This hits very close to home, very personal for you.
JULIA IOFFE, GQ MAGAZINE CORRESPONDENT: I mean, of course, it doesn't hit me the way it hit a lot of, you know, the families in Pittsburgh and the wider Jewish community that knew people there. But to me it just brought back a lot of what a friend of mine called historical memory.
I think for a Jewish person who is not from America, who grew up with anti-Semitism around her, you think that you never stop thinking that it could happen here, it could happen anywhere. Of course, I think my family always thought America was different and that it couldn't happen here.
BLITZER: Yes. It's hard to believe it's happening here. And your family came over from what was then the Soviet Union, and HIAS organization helped bring your family over and get you into the United States where you had a new opportunity.
And what is so sick, this killer, he really went after HIAS, which is the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, Jewish refugee advocacy group. It doesn't only help Jews but helps a lot of people resettle in the United States. And he wrote on one of his social media posts, "HIAS likes to bring in invaders that kill our people. I can't sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics. I'm going in." Without HIAS, your family would have been in deep trouble.
IOFFE: That's right. They really helped our family and the family of many other thousands and thousands of other Soviet Jews get settled. I believe they helped your family. I know they have been very active on fighting the travel ban, the Muslim ban, and helping other refugees get settled now that there aren't as many Jewish refugees coming into the country. Thank god, you know, thank god that there are no more Jewish refugees.
But I think what's interesting is that this didn't come out of nowhere. This person didn't just think up that Jews were funding this caravan of refugees, migrants coming toward America's southern border. He had been hearing it from our president. He had been hearing it from Republican leaders, from members of the far right media who have been saying that this is a caravan funded by Soros, by Jewish interests. So this person didn't pluck this out of thin air or invent it on his own.
BLITZER: Yes, horrible things on his social media posts that he wrote about the Jewish people. I don't even want to read the words that he wrote. Tell us about this necklace you're wearing, because it's a significant statement that you're making right now.
IOFFE: Oh, I wear it all the time. It says, Eshet Hayil, which means woman of valor. BLITZER: In Hebrew.
IOFFE: In Hebrew. And it is something Jews say every Shabbat. And it is about, you know, the Jewish woman, the strong Jewish woman who is the keeper of the hearth and the keeper of her family. And just also out in the world, hopefully doing good things.
BLITZER: My parents have passed away, and I'm sure if they were here, they wouldn't believe this could happen in the United States of America, because they came to this country after World War II. They are Holocaust survivors and they had a new life in Buffalo, New York.
Everybody was wonderful to them. Great opportunities. And it would have been hard for them to believe this could happen here. It could happen in Europe, of course, but hard to believe it could happen here. How are your parents coping?
IOFFE: So, I think my parents are out there watching right now, but I think what we shouldn't forget in this moment is that this wasn't just an anti-Semitic attack. This was also an anti-immigrant attack. This person voiced harsh, violent anti-immigrant sentiments and I think what a lot of people don't understand is how much immigrants love America.
Because they chose this country. They feel lucky to be here. They feel lucky that they got a second chance in this country, and my parents, you know, we came here fleeing anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union. We were refugees. We had refugee status. And the reason my parents finally decided to come over -- my mom was deeply reluctant to do this.
[17:10:01] To leave her life, to leave her family and her friends. But in the summer of 1988, there were rumors that there would be an anti- Jewish pogrom. She was stuck with me and my baby sister in the Russian countryside, no phone, no connection to the outside world.
And she imagined this happening and thought back to her grandmother who had been the victim of a pogrom, was forced to watch her -- she and her eight siblings were forced to watch their parents be executed and she realized it was completely possible in Russia and that she didn't want to raise kids in a country where it was so possible.
I think what breaks my parents' hearts is watching this last, you know, three years, watching the anti-Semitic attacks on me, which happen by the way on the 26th anniversary that we came here, is they never thought it could happen here.
They chose this country because they thought it could never happen here, that this was a different country. And I think it's really broken their hearts, and the rage and the sadness that they feel kind of breaks me a little bit.
BLITZER: Yes it's an awful, awful situation. Why do you think, and I know you have done a lot of reporting on this, a lot of research on this. You're working on a new book as well. There has been, according to the ADL, this increase in anti anti-Semitic incidents here in the United States.
IOFFE: Yes, and it's the largest according to the ADL, the largest one-year increase since the organization has started tracking this in 1979. And that year happened to be the first year of Donald Trump's presidency. You have talked to the now president about this back in 2016. You know, this tale of kind of anti-Semitic comments, anti- Semitic tropes seem to follow him everywhere to the point where his Jewish son-in-law had to write an op-ed saying my father-in-law is not an anti-Semite.
Well, you know, usually if people -- if you have to say that, it means people keep accusing you of being an anti-Semite and there might be fire where that anti-Semitic smoke is. And I think that he has emboldened and heartened a lot of people who hear the dog whistles. They know exactly what they mean.
They feel that the president approves. They have said as much, if you look at alt-right commentary after the president's moral equivocation on Charlottesville. If you look at his inability to until really forced, to denounce people like David Duke, former Grand Wizard of the KKK, they understand this and they understand that he's on their side. He's not on the side of frankly of the Jewish community.
BLITZER: This shooter, this killer, he posted a lot of anti-Semitic posts on social media, but he also went after Donald Trump. He said at one point, Trump is surrounded by -- and then he used the derogatory word for Jews that start with K, things that will stay the course, Trump is a globalist, not a nationalist. There is no Maga -- Make America Great Again -- as long as there's a derogatory K word for Jews, infestation. So, he doesn't look like he was a great fan of Donald Trump.
IOFFE: But I think this rhetoric is out there, it's in the air. All the attacks on George Soros, all the talk about globalists, that is so barely veiled. I mean, the veil is see-through. These are anti-Semitic tropes that the president is trafficking in, has been trafficking in for at least the three years since he started running.
And it's not a coincidence that these people pick up on this and they think, you know, if you're talking about this, let's actually do something about this. They get so riled up that even what he says is not enough.
BLITZER: It's a sad situation indeed. Are you upbeat or pessimistic about the immediate future?
IOFFE: I'm angry. I'm angry. I think this -- yes.
BLITZER: Understandably so. All right, Julia Ioffe, thanks so much for coming in.
IOFFE: Thank you for having me.
BLITZER: Good luck and all up to your parents. Thanks very much.
IOFFE: Thank you. BLITZER: This is CNN's special live coverage. We'll take a quick break and will be right back.
[17:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NAFTALI BENNETT, ISRAELI MINISTER OF DIASPORA AFFAIRS: I've come to offer comfort, but what words of comfort can I gave? Joyce Feinberg, Rich Gottfried, Rose Mallinger, 97 years old. Jerry Rabinowitz, brothers Cecil and David Rosenthal. Bernice and Sylvan Simon, Daniel Stein, Melvin Wax, Irving Younger.
Eleven souls, 11 innocent lives brutally cut short. We stand here in your memories. May they be blessed and may the injured have full and swift recoveries. Nearly 80 years since Kristallnacht when the Jews of Europe perished in the flames of their houses of worship, one thing is clear. Anti-Semitism, Jew hating, is not a distant memory. It's not a thing of the past nor a chapter in history books.
[17:20:04] It is a very real threat. Anti anti-Semitism is a clear and present danger. From Sderot in Israel to Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, the hand that fires missiles is the same hand that shoots worshiper. We will fight against the hatred of Jews and anti-Semitism wherever it raises its head. And we will prevail.
The bond between Israel and the United States --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right, that's Naftali Bennett, the minister of Diaspora affairs for the state of Israel. He was sent over by the Prime Minister to represent Israel at this memorial service, this vigil that is now under way.
Tomorrow, we could get our first look at the man accused of shooting 17 people, killing 11 of them, at a Pittsburgh synagogue. He's expected in court around 1:00 p.m. Meanwhile, the FBI is searching for surveillance video near the area. Agents are hoping they can piece together the suspect's movements leading up to the shooting.
CNN's Miguel Marquez is just outside the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, for us, the scene of the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in our country's history. Miguel, we know agents are looking for video. What else are they searching for?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they have gone through his home, they've gone through his car. They spent many, many hours at his last known address. We are learning a lot about Robert Bowers and just what sort of a person this was. From all accounts, this was somebody who was calm, placid, was never friendly nor unfriendly to people and seemed to live sort of a blank life.
One person we just spoke to, though, said that she has known him since he was in school with her son. So, many, many years she's known him. She says that this was a person who was a lost soul, that he could never hold down a job, went from job to job, and had a very extraordinarily traumatic life as well.
We can't go into the details of it right now, but this is somebody who clearly harbored very deep resentment toward others. For as much as his outside life was seemingly without remark, inside, and what he was posting, and what he thought, there was a deep, deep well of hatred.
The woman that we spoke to who knew him for many, many years says that she was just in shock when she found it was him. The only thing she could keep repeating was no, no, no. She didn't see him as having -- never heard him say an unkind word. Didn't think he had an unkind bone in his body. Never heard him even speak up or boisterous in any way.
She did not think he was capable of this and had a very difficult time understanding how this could happen. But clearly, from his posts online, for many, many months and years, he harbored a deep resentment, a hatred of Jewish people.
Several weeks ago, he posted about one Jewish group in particular, in connection to the caravan that is coming up from Central America. Saying that HIAS, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, that has resettled people of all stripes (ph), all nations, all nationalities, all religions for many, many years, decades, said that they had made a video on the border.
He was angry at this group for bringing in what he called invaders, and then shortly before entering that synagogue, he posted that he could no longer allow his people to be slaughtered. Screw the optics, I'm going in. And he certainly did, Wolf.
BLITZER: Any idea when the synagogue could reopen? We know it's a crime scene right now. And investigators are looking through all the details.
MARQUEZ: Investigators -- I mean, every picture that has been painted of this place, every investigator that has gone into it, says it's a very complex scene. They think they can be done with their work in a week. But then I think it's a much bigger question as to when the synagogue itself would be able to open or if it ever opens. This is going to be, I think, a long time in healing for that synagogue and for that neighborhood, and for this, you know, wonderfully tough city, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Miguel, we'll get back to you as well. Miguel Marquez on the scene outside the synagogue there in Pittsburgh. Here to offer some insight into this investigation, we have with us our CNN law enforcement analyst, the former FBI supervisory agent Josh Campbell and CNN national security analyst, the former assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security, Juliette Kayyem.
[17:25:02] Josh, I understand you have some new information about some of the weapons the suspect used in this mass murder.
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: That's right, Wolf. We're learning new details. According to the criminal complaint that was filed by prosecutors, they indicated that four weapons were recovered at the scene of the synagogue shooting.
A law enforcement official familiar with the ongoing investigation tells us that at least three of those weapons, three .357 hand guns -- these were Gloc handguns, were actually purchased legally by the shooter. So again, there have been questions remaining whether the firearms used were purchased legally, whether they were purchased illegally, we are told that at least three of them were lawfully purchase.
It remains unclear whether the fourth, the AR-15 rifle was purchased legally or illegally, but again, that's something that we continue to dig into. I'm sure investigators are doing the same. Again, the question has come up since this begun, how did the suspect actually get access to these weapons. Were they lawfully purchased? We're now told, Wolf, that at least three of the four were.
BLITZER: Very interesting. Juliette, how is someone who is posting these types of threats, including death threats, able -- and posting them on social media online, able to not only own one but multiple guns and a lot of ammunition?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Because our background checks -- assuming what Josh is saying at least about the handguns, do not assess social media. The background check is essentially a legal check. Are you authorized? Are you old enough? Do you have any federal crimes against you?
And yet, all this stuff is happening on social media that would suggest to the rational person that you should not sell a gun to this person. And I want to just make clear on the handguns versus the AR-15 issue, is that you -- so people are wondering why is it taking a week, you know, in terms of the synagogue and when it's going to be cleared?
We need to know how these people died. In other words, which bullets from which guns killed them because one of the debates that happens often after these incidents, as it should, is are high-caliber guns even necessary to be sold and be lawful? And so I'm curious in this investigation the extent to which the speed by which so many people were killed was done because -- not because he had handguns but because he had essentially a rifle.
BLITZER: The AR-15. Josh, considering the types of anti-Semitic threats, the rants the suspect posted online, was this an attack that could have been prevented?
CAMPBELL: Wolf, that will be the subject of a very robust investigation. Unfortunately, when these things happen, you know, obviously, investigators are piecing together the incident at hand, but they also want to look back on this person's past and find out, is this someone who was known to law enforcement.
Were there red flags that should have been picked up on? We don't know that at this point, but again, that will be part of the investigation. Law enforcement officers will be both trying to interview the subject. They will be trying to talk to associates of his, friends, family members and the like.
As you mentioned, you know, a lot of these very sickening, disgusting online postings will also be part of this investigation to go through and again determine was he moving past the line from first amendment protected speech to maybe perhaps inciting violence, and was that something that someone should have picked up on. Again, Wolf, that will be the subject of this very lengthy investigation.
BLITZER: Yes, they got to step back and investigate it fully, learn lessons to try to make sure it doesn't happen again if possible. Juliette, it seems like there were some warning signs in the IED or pipe bomb case earlier in the week. That suspect also made threats online, drove a van with firearm targets on people's faces. Where were the calls from the public about either of these two men?
KAYYEM: It appears that there weren't many. There were some twitter complaints about the bomber. I have to say, the fact that he was driving around Florida in a van with bull's eye of senior members of the Democratic Party, one would think that someone might have actually said something or been concerned.
And I want to just, you know, Josh was just talking about the past. I also just -- we need to be clear here. In the last 72 hours or the last week, it wasn't just the bombs. And it wasn't just the synagogue. It was also this attack in Kroger -- the Kroger attack where two African-Americans were killed. The man tried to get into an african- american church.
So I'm also worried about the elevated sense of violence that is coming from not just social media but also coming from the inability of the president of the United States to clamp it down. This is not a game. So you can blame him or not blame him for the past, and that will be a debate. I'm glad to join it.
I want to talk about the future. His responsibility is tone it down because there may be another person behind these three. And likely, there is. That's why I think you're seeing the FBI and others start to talk about white supremacy, start to talk about toning it down.
[17:30:04] Because, I mean, we delude ourselves if we think that these three are the last three out there.
BLITZER: All right, Juliette, thank you very much. Josh, thanks to you as well. Lots to consider. Very, very sad, very scary situation. I want to take a moment right now to remember the oldest of the victims in Pittsburgh. Rose Mallinger was among the 11 people, wonderful people, killed inside the Tree of Life synagogue on Saturday morning. It was the Shabbat service.
A family friend says Mallinger was, quote, "the sweetest lovely lady who was spry and vibrant, despite her age of 97 years old." She worked as a school secretary for years.
One relative, Elisa Schwartz, posted to her Facebook page this, "Rose was one of the matriarchs of the family. She was my grandma's first cousin. We used to have a cousins club to celebrate Hanukkah and gathered for Seder as a Passover.
Tree of Life, the synagogue is actually an appropriate name for how our community has come together. I will be mourning the loss of Rose and the 10 others who have lost their lives too soon as well as praying for the others that were injured. I will be continuing on with my life and not letting this stop me. We must keep fighting for love and respect."
At 97, Rose Mallinger, once again, she was the oldest victim of this horrific synagogue mass murder.
[17:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM PEDUTO, MAYOR OF PITTSBURGH: We come together tonight to mourn. And it's the right thing to do. We lost 11 of our neighbors. And we're here to mourn the way that they were taken from us. We're here to mourn the fact that we live in a society where something like this could even exist. We're here to mourn the attack upon our Jewish community.
We're here to be supporters. We're here to make sure that those victims' families have what Pittsburghers do, the understanding that we are all here for them. And we will help them through this horror that they are living.
We're here to recognize the officers and two members of the congregation who are still suffering, and to let them and their families know we're here for you because we're Pittsburghers, and that's what we do. We care and take care of those in need. And we show it as a community of one.
In the next several weeks and months, it will become increasingly clear and increasingly necessary to show our support of the Jewish community. To be behind the community as a whole and to say that anti- Semitism is not even remotely a thought within the city's borders. And throughout this area of --
Let me tell you something about Pittsburghers. We're tough. We are proud of our blue-collar roots. And we're not the type of people that react to threats or actions in a way that ever takes back from us. We will drive anti-Semitism and the hate of any people back to the basement, on their computer, and away from the open discussions and dialogues around the city, around this state, and around this country.
There are different levels of evil. There's an evil that you experience when there is a mass murder. It's an evil that drives down people. There's an evil that you face when the victims are children or the elderly, the innocent, the ones that can't take care of themselves.
There's an evil that is placed on top of that when it is against a group of people simply because of the way they pray and who they are. And there is an evil which happens when you enter into a sacred place, a place where it is believed to be the safe place, a place where peace is and not where you would ever have to worry or have any fear.
We are dealing with that quadruple evil, the darkest hour of our city's history. But here's another thing about Pittsburgh. We're a resilient people. We will work together as one. We will defeat hate with love. We will be a city of compassion welcoming to all people, no matter what your religion or where your family came from on this earth or your status.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[17:40:02] BLITZER: Beautiful words from the mayor of Pittsburgh, William Peduto. He's been speaking so powerfully, so emotionally over these past couple of days. We're going to be hearing more from him, no doubt about that. We'll have much more of our special live coverage right after this.
BLITZER: Saturday's mass shooting at Pittsburgh followed two other horrific crimes that shook the country earlier in the week. On Wednesday, a white man went to a major grocery store in Kentucky and shot and killed two African-Americans only minutes before he had tried to enter a predominantly black church nearby but couldn't get in.
[17:45:02] On Friday, authorities arrested a self-described white supremacist who they say mailed 14 pipe bombs, improvised explosive devices according to the FBI, across the country. And yesterday, a man who frequently posted anti-Semitic comments on social media entering a synagogue, a place of worship, and killed 11 people and wounded 6 others.
Hate, terror, violence. The country has been truly shaken by all of this over the past four days alone. CNN's presidential historian Douglas Brinkley is joining us now. Doug, what does this say about where our country is right now?
DOUG BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, it's been a mournful week. And it's a week where you have to worry about what's going on in the United States. Hate is raining down upon the land. You know, we usually have groups in the country, nonprofits like Southern Poverty Law out of Montgomery, Alabama that monitors neo-Nazi hate crimes, white supremacy and the like.
But it is really running amuck now. I don't think Southern Poverty Law can keep up with it because of the advent of the internet. You know, back in the 1930s, when anti-Semitism was alive and well, you had Father Coughlin on radio. You had Henry Ford, used to publish the Dearborn Independent newspaper, just preaching the hate -- spewing hate against Jews.
And we see it now on the internet more and more. And I think the federal government is going to have to crack down on these sites like Gab, find ways to muzzle some of the so-called free speech social media forums, Wolf, because it's allowing these people to express their hatred.
And unfortunately, President Trump, because he's coveting the alt- right vote, doesn't do enough to show leadership. I mean, it starts at the top. He needs to change his rhetoric. The whole idea of shouting "lock her up" about Hillary Clinton when she's a former Secretary of State and First Lady who's committed no crime, he needs to control his own rallies because they seem to be hate rallies, at least parts of the Trump speeches as he goes around the country.
BLITZER: Well, you mentioned there the president. Times of crisis, you're a presidential historian, you know, certainly can define presidents. So what do you make of the president's response this week, not only to the pipe bombs that were sent to his critics including two former presidents but also to yesterday's horrific mass shooting at the synagogue?
BRINKLEY: Well, he was horrific during the pipe bombs. You know, he decided to blame the media when CNN's the one that's getting bombs. He's using that as an opportunity to score points against CNN. He doesn't have the courage to call Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, and others, and just have a 30-second phone call, say my heart feels for you. I'm sorry you're having to endure this. We're going to try to do something about it.
Instead, he kind of sneers and mocks his way through it all, and alas, he's dividing the country. And I know for Trump supporters, there are lot of things they like about him with the economy and deregulation, but it is a place of moral leadership. You know, I think Donald Trump misunderstands Theodore Roosevelt's bully pulpit.
The word bully wasn't to bully people. Back in early, you know, when T.R. was president in 1901 to 1909, he would say what a bully day, a great day. But Donald Trump is using his power to bully people. And you see it right now, Wolf, with the Central American caravan going down.
These are poor people coming to the border. It is a problem, but to demonize them and dehumanize them, as what we saw the crazy man in Florida, he acted that way, and the killer in Squirrel Hill at the synagogue, the same way. We got to have a president who starts teaching tolerance not bullying.
BLITZER: All right, Douglas Brinkley, our presidential historian, thanks so much as usual for giving us some perspective. Appreciate it very much.
BRINKLEY: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: So, we're also learning new information right now about the weapons used in the horrific mass murder at the Pittsburgh synagogue. Legally purchased handguns, the very latest. We have live coverage, that and a lot more coming up. We'll be right back.
[17:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BLITZER: The people of Pittsburgh are coming together on social media in a real show of solidarity. The Pittsburgh Steelers' familiar logo was altered today online to include a Star of David along with the phrase "Stronger than Hate."
It's been shared across social media. The artist who altered the logo posted this, quote, "We were strong before this tragedy. A tragedy like this just makes us stronger. Just like you can't break steel, you can't break the resiliency of a Pittsburgher. We are stronger than hate."
Let's take a moment to remember each of these 11 victims. Truly, truly wonderful people, and let's never forget them. Joyce Feinberg, 75 years old. Richard Gottfried, 65 years old. Rose Mallinger, 97 years old. Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz, 66 years old. Cecil Rosenthal, 59 years old and his brother David Rosenthal, 54. Bernice Simon, 84 years old and her loving husband, Sylvan Simon, 86 years old. Daniel Stein, 71. Melvin Wax, 88 years old, and Irving Younger, 69 years old.
[17:54:58] Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz, one of the 11 people gunned down Saturday morning at these religious services, in the worst anti- Semitic attack in U.S. history, let's remember a little bit about him. He was a beloved Pittsburgh area physician. A colleague says, and I am quoting, "he was a kind, joyful man."
One of Rabinowitz's nephews posted a very moving tribute to his Uncle Jerry online. Let me just read one part, quote, "Uncle Jerry wasn't killed in the basement of the building where the congregation was dovening or praying. He was shot outside the room. Why? Because when he heard shots, he ran outside to try and see if anyone was hurt and needed a doctor." Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz was 66 years old.
Brothers Cecil and David Rosenthal both killed Saturday morning in the Tree of Life synagogue as well. And a family friend says this, "the brothers lived together in an apartment near the synagogue. Both men devoted their lives to helping others. David took pride in his work at Goodwill Industries, where he won numerous awards. Cecil worked at a Pittsburgh center for people with disabilities."
A friend of both men says, and I'm quoting, "Cecil's laugh was infectious. David was so kind and had such a gentle spirit. Together, they looked out for one another. They were inseparable. Most of all, they were kind, good people, with a strong faith and respect for everyone around. Cecil Rosenthal, once again, was 59. David Rosenthal was 54. May all of these victims rest in peace and may their memory be a blessing.
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