CNN Panel Questions Whether Trump's Condolences After Synagogue Shooting Are Sincere

April 28, 2019

A CNN panel questioned whether President Donald Trump's condolences in the wake of a shooting on a California synagogue on Saturday were sincere.

"I just wonder how much easier it would be for the president to set a tone if he just would maintain that tone," former Congressional Black Caucus executive director Angela Rye said. "We talked already about, Lisa, the way that he campaigned. And I think at a time like this, we of course want to be united, of course we desire to be hopeful and to be supportive of allies and friends that I'm sure many of us all have. But it is very, very tricky to follow the tone of someone who, you know, regularly traffics in racism and fear-mongering and anti-immigrant sentiment, and all types of ways to further divide this country. So I hope that this moment is one that he uses to reset, period, not just when tragedy strikes."

Host Don Lemon jumped in saying he wanted "to give the president his due," but questioned whether that was possible.

"We want to give -- on one hand you want to give the president his due, but when you consider the language that we have been discussing over the last couple of days, especially with Joe Biden getting into the race, what the president has said, making excuses, revisionist history about what happened in Charlottesville and on and on, one has to wonder as a thinking, rational person, if he means those words and if they ring hollow to Americans who have been looking for him to say those things and stay the course as Angela has said, instead of trafficking in bigotry, in racism, in anti-Semitism, in hate, and making excuses for us," Lemon said.

"I'm going to be real here, I'm not going to sit here and pretend, what do you have to say, what do you have to say, oh, let's hear the president. I'm going to be real. How do we believe him? What should we believe?" Lemon asked.

Ana Navarro said people should not believe him.

"We all saw neo-Nazis with tiki-torches chanting 'Jews will not replace us,' that was precisely about anti-Semitism. We all saw and we all know that he didn't say a word about the black churches. We all know that he didn't say a word condemning Steve King, the congressman from Iowa. So it's time after time after time after time. No, we don't reconcile this," Navarro said.

"You want to believe it. You want to, but I just don't know," Lemon said.

"We need to, but I don't know that we can," Rye added.

One person died, and three people were injured during a shooting at the Chabad of Poway synagogue in Poway, California on Saturday. The suspect, 19-year-old John Earnest, has been arrested, and authorities are investigating the matter as a possible hate crime.

At a rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, President Donald Trump condemned anti-Semitism.

"We forcefully condemn the evil of anti-Semitism and hate, which must be defeated," Trump said.