Mourners pray near site of a mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, October 27, 2018 (Jeff Swensen/Getty)

Echoing Donald Trump’s language on the threat of “globalists” like financier George Soros and on a caravan of Central Americans seeking asylum in the US, a gunman kills 11 worshippers and wounds six in a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Robert Bowers stormed the Tree of Life synagogue during Shabbat services on Saturday. He was not previously known to law enforcement but, on social media, he had posted anti-Semitic statements. The suspect specifically expressed anger that a nonprofit Jewish organization in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Squirrel Hill has helped refugees settle in the US:

HIAS [Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society] likes to bring invaders in that kill our people….I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.

During the attack and a gunfight, in which he wounded four police officers and was shot multiple times, Bowers reportedly said, “I want to kill all the Jews.”

The attack follows weeks of invective by Trump and some Republican politicians, in tactics before November 6 Congressional elections, highlighting a caravan of about 7,000 would-be immigrants — mainly women and children — as a threat to the US. Pro-Trump sites have falsely accused Soros, a philanthropist who has been blamed by authoritarian governments of pursuing “regime change”, of funding the group.

EA in the Media: Trump and the Pittsburgh Synagogue Shootings

Earlier this week Soros was among the targets of 13 pipe bombs posted by Trump supporter Cesar Sayoc, who reportedly said he had “found a father” in Trump, fuelling his animosity towards other targets such as CNN, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Barack and Michelle Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, former Attorney General Eric Holder actor Robert DeNiro, Congressman Maxine Waters, Senator Cory Booker, and Democratic donor Tom Steyer.

On Friday, responding to the news that Sayoc had been detained, Trump denounced “globalists” — seen by some as a reference not only to financiers, but specifically to those who are Jewish. When the audience responded with “George Soros” and “Lock ’em up”, Trump chuckled and repeated, “Lock ’em up.”

TrumpWatch, Day 645: Trump Mocks Targets of Pipe Bomb Attacks

Trump avoided any discussion of his rhetoric earlier this week, preferring to blame media “hostility” and “fake news” for the pipe bomb attacks. He also pushed aside the issue on Saturday as he told an Illinois rally:

This evil anti-Semitic attack is an assault on all of us. It’s an assault on humanity. It will require all of us working together to extract the hateful poison of anti-Semitism from our world.

But critics noted, in addition to Trump’s repeated denunciations of figures such as Soros and the other pipe bomb targets, his failure to condemn violent white supremacist rallies in August 2017 which included anti-semitic chants.

They also referred to the 2016 campaign in which Trump sat Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton “meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty” and that “a global power structure” is conspiring against ordinary Americans. Among the “globalists” assailed by Trump ads were prominent Jews such as Soros, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, and Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, saying Hillary Clinton partnered “with these people who don’t have your good in mind”.

On Saturday night, the head of the right-wing, pro-Trump Judicial Watch persisted with the theme despite the shootings:

And Trump and his Illinois audience did not entirely mute their verbal attacks: