US President Donald Trump reportedly said that a wave of threats against Jewish communal institutions may be a false flag.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who is Jewish and a Democrat, described a meeting of state attorneys general and Trump on Tuesday to a BuzzFeed reporter.
Trump called the wave of bomb threats in recent weeks, which forced the evacuation of nearly 100 Jewish community centers and other institutions countrywide, “reprehensible,” Shapiro said. But the US president also added: “Sometimes it’s the reverse, to make people – or to make others – look bad,” according to Shapiro’s account.
Shapiro said Trump said it was “the reverse” two or three times but did not clarify what he meant.
Earlier Tuesday, Anthony Scaramucci, a top adviser to the Trump transition team who is under consideration for a White House job, advanced a similar argument on Twitter, saying the threats may be aimed at harming Trump.
“It’s not yet clear who the #JCC offenders are,” Scaramucci said. “Don’t forget @TheDemocrats effort to incite violence at Trump rallies.”
There were several incidents of violence at Trump campaign rallies during last year’s election, but no evidence linking the offenders to an organized Democratic Party effort.
On Monday, at least 29 Jewish institutions across the US were targeted with bomb threats, marking the fifth wave of threats against JCCs, Jewish day schools and other Jewish organizations since the beginning of the year.
In addition to the bomb threats, Jewish cemeteries have also been targeted during a recent swell of anti-Semitic incidents, with over 100 headstones found toppled at a Jewish graveyard in Philadelphia, mirroring an incident at a cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri, the week before.
Following sharp criticism of Trump from a number of leading American Jewish organizations over his failure to denounce the rise in anti-Semitic incidents, the US president issued his first explicit condemnation of anti-Semitism last week, calling it “horrible” and “painful,” as well as a “sad reminder” of evil.
On Monday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that Trump “continues to be deeply disappointed and concerned over reports of further vandalism at Jewish cemeteries,” while also calling in the incidents in Philadelphia and Missouri “cowardly.”
Trump will address the recent wave of anti-Semitism during a speech to a joint session of Congress Tuesday evening, CNN reported.