White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday described the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue over the weekend as a "chilling act of mass murder."
Sanders began the day's White House press briefing by reflecting on the deadly attack at the Tree of Life synagogue on Saturday, when a gunman killed 11 people and injured several others before surrendering to authorities. Robert Bowers, the man accused of perpetrating the shooting, has been charged with 29 felony counts, including 11 counts of use of a firearm to commit murder and 11 counts of obstruction of the exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death.
"This atrocity was a chilling act of mass murder. It was an act of hatred, and above all, it was an act of evil. Anti-Semitism is a plague to humanity, and it is responsible for many of the worst horrors in human history," Sanders said. "We all have a duty to confront anti-Semitism in all its forms and everywhere and anywhere it appears. The American people reject hatred, bigotry, prejudice, and violence. We are a nation that believes in religious liberty, tolerance, and respect."
Bowers, 46, made anti-Semitic statements during the shooting and often attacked Jews on social media, according to law enforcement officials.
Sanders went on to thank the four police officers who were injured in the line of duty while trying to stop the shooter.
"The president cherishes the American Jewish community for everything it stands for and contributes to our country," Sanders added. "He adores Jewish Americans as part of of his own family. The president is the grandfather of several Jewish grandchildren. His daughter is a Jewish American and his son-in-law is a descendant of Holocaust survivors."
The press secretary concluded her statement by noting that President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will visit Pittsburgh to show their support for the community and express their condolences.