Vice President Mike Pence rejected a suggestion that President Donald Trump’s political rhetoric contributed to the shooting that left 11 people dead in a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday or the bombs that were mailed to a number of political figures last week.
While in Las Vegas for a Republican rally on Saturday, Pence told NBC News that “everyone has their own style” and that “people on both sides of the aisle use strong language about our political differences.”
“But I just don’t think you can connect it to acts or threats of violence,” he said. “And I don’t think the American people connect it.”
Pence’s comment came just hours after a 46-year-old man was accused of entering the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and opening fire on members of the congregation.
The shooting killed 11 people and injured six others, making it the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in US history, according to a statement from the Anti-Defamation League.
And last week, pipe bombs were mailed to more than a dozen prominent political figures, iincluding former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Well-known figures connected to the Democratic Party and CNN’s New York bureau were also targeted.
Pence called for “unity” at a campaign event shortly after Saturday’s shooting took place.
“What happened this morning in Pittsburgh was not just a criminal act, it was evil,” he told NBC News, adding that the Trump administration is “absolutely determined to do everything in our power to prevent these types of attacks from happening in the future.”