The Slatest

On Latest Anti-Semitic Incidents, Trump Reportedly and Inexplicably Says, “Sometimes It’s the Reverse”

President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference announcing Alexander Acosta as the new Labor Secretary nominee in the East Room at the White House on Feb. 16.

Mario Tama/Getty Images

On Tuesday, President Trump responded to the recent wave of anti-Semitic threats around the country in comments to a group of state attorneys general that suggested they had been orchestrated by unknown parties to make him look bad. From BuzzFeed:

“He just said, ‘Sometimes it’s the reverse, to make people — or to make others — look bad,’ and he used the word ‘reverse’ I would say two to three times in his comments,” [Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh] Shapiro said. “He did correctly say at the top that it was reprehensible.”

Asked for further information about the purpose of the president’s comments, Shapiro only said, “I really don’t know what he means, or why he said that,” adding that Trump said he would be speaking about the issue in his remarks on Tuesday night.

The Anti-Defamation League swiftly responded to Trump’s comment in a statement. “We are astonished by what the President reportedly said,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt wrote. “It is incumbent upon the White House to immediately clarify these remarks. In light of the ongoing attacks on the Jewish community, it is also incumbent upon the President to lay out in his speech tonight his plans for what the federal government will do to address this rash of anti-Semitic incidents.”

Trump’s comment fits in well with the conspiratorial view of protests and other events that have emerged in the first month of his presidency. In an interview with Fox & Friends that aired today, Trump said of the demonstrations, “I think that President Obama’s behind it because his people are certainly behind it.” And this morning, Anthony Scaramucci, a man Donald Trump nominated to head the White House Office of Public Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs, accused Democrats of inciting violence at Trump rallies and warned that the anti-Semitic threats, which forced evacuations at schools and Jewish community centers in over a dozen states Monday, could also be their handiwork.