Former President Barack Obama and a handful of other prominent Democrats condemned gun violence and hate crimes on Saturday after 11 people were killed and others were wounded in a shooting at a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania synagogue.
Suspected gunman Robert Bowers, 46, is accused of opening fire inside of the crowded Tree of Life synagogue. Officials said Bowers announced his presence to the congregation by shouting, “All Jews must die,” before the attack. Bowers is facing 29 charges.
“All of us have to fight the rise of anti-Semitism and hateful rhetoric against those who look, love, or pray differently,” Obama wrote on Twitter. “And we have to stop making it so easy for those who want to harm the innocent to get their hands on a gun.”
Strong statements from politicians flooded social media in the hours after the shooting, which Bob Jones, the FBI special agent in charge of the Pittsburgh field office, called “the most horrific crime scene I’ve seen with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”
Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) echoed Obama’s calls for gun reform.
“I don’t want to arm synagogues and churches and schools,” he tweeted. “I want to live in a society where nazism and white supremacy crawls back in a hole and we have universal background checks.”
“We need more than thoughts and prayers-we need action to stop these senseless deaths from gun violence,” added Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) on Twitter.
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) called out “opponents of common-sense gun safety.”
“We need to get assault weapons off the streets and out of the hands of those who would do us harm,” he wrote on Twitter.
Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also issued statements on Twitter.
“We can and must put a stop to this violence and this hate,” Hillary Clinton wrote. “It should have no home in America.”
“We must all send an unequivocal message that the violence and hatred that has been unleashed and fanned across America will not be tolerated,” Bill Clinton tweeted. “It won’t end until we stop it.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden, a potential 2020 Democratic presidential contender, said that “hate is on the march in America.”
He ended the statement with a slight jab at President Donald Trump.
“Words matter,” Biden wrote in the statement. “And silence is complicity.”
President Donald Trump also condemned the apparent anti-Semitic attack on the synagogue on Saturday.
“This evil anti-Semitic attack is an assault on all of us. It’s an assault on humanity,” he said. “It will require all of us working together to extract the hateful poison of anti-Semitism from our world.”
Some argue Trump’s rhetoric has fueled hatred. Earlier this week, suspicious packages and pipe bombs were mailed to several of the president’s favorite targets, including Obama, the Clintons, George Soros and Rep. Maxine Waters (Calif.), whom Trump has often criticized or mocked.
The suspect linked to the mailings had a van covered in pro-Trump images and messages.
In a statement Saturday afternoon, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Department of Justice “will continue to support our state and local partners and we will continue to bring the full force of the law against anyone who would violate the civil rights of the American people.”