Trump, at Florida rally, raises synagogue shooting to slam media




Donald Trump

President Donald Trump said that despite a “small protest,” in Pittsburgh he and first lady Melania Trump were treated very kindly during their visit but that the media did not accurately reflect how they were received. | Chris O’Meara/AP Photo

President Donald Trump on Wednesday night again invoked the mass shooting at a synagogue to slam the news media, opening a campaign rally in Florida by telling a vocal crowd that coverage of his visit to Pittsburgh the day before was “fake and make-believe.”

Trump paid a solemn visit to the city on Tuesday in the aftermath of Saturday’s shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue, which left 11 dead. The president said that despite a “small protest,” he and first lady Melania Trump were treated very kindly during their visit but that the media did not accurately reflect how they were received.

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“After this day of unity and togetherness, I came home and, sadly, turned on the news and watched as the far-left media once again used tragedy to sow anger and division,” Trump said. “Sadly, they took a small group of protesters [who were] far away from where we were. We could not have been treated better, the first lady and myself.”

“But we’re representing the presidency, and [the media] did everything in their power to try to play it up and push people apart,” he added. “That’s what’s happening. They’re pushing people apart.”

Trump posted a similar sentiment on Twitter earlier Wednesday, saying: “The Office of the President was shown great respect on a very sad & solemn day. We were treated so warmly. Small protest was not seen by us, staged far away. The Fake News stories were just the opposite-Disgraceful!”

“When we talk about division, this is a big part of it — that division right there,” Trump continued at the rally in Fort Myers. “The far-left media has spread terrible lies and stories about the Trump administration and the tens of millions of people who make up our great movement, the greatest political movement in the history of our country.”

Trump also said that while journalists had been critical of his administration’s efforts for nearly two years, it was unfortunate that the media were seen as the “enemy” by so many people.

“We have forcefully condemned hatred, bigotry, racism and prejudice in all of its ugly forms, but the media doesn’t want you to hear your story,” he said at the rally. “It’s not my story, it’s your story. And that’s why 33 percent of the people in this country believe the fake news is, in fact — and I hate to say this — in fact, the enemy of the people.”

Trump did make a point to compliment some “very good” people in the media, directing his attention to reporters at the back of the room.

“I have to say this” he added. “You have some very good people also as reporters and journalists. I know some incredible people. You have some that are not good at all. You have some very good people. I want to say that. You have some very good people.”

With less than a week until the midterm elections, Wednesday’s event was part of an eight-state, 11-rally effort to garner votes for Republican candidates on Election Day next week.

Florida is home to two highly publicized races, one for a Democratic-held Senate seat and the other for governor. Trump used the rally to again voice his support for former Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis in his gubernatorial run against Democrat Andrew Gillum, who currently serves as mayor of Tallahassee.

Trump also endorsed Republican Gov. Rick Scott in the tight Senate contest against incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.

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