In a tweet sent on Sunday morning, Sarah Huckabee Sanders said The Washington Post exploited the synagogue shooting to attack the president. She was reacting to a tweet sent by a New York Times reporter, who noted that the Post's front page tied two of the week's terror attacks to President Donald Trump.
"Is there any tragedy the Washington Post won’t exploit to attack President @realDonaldTrump?" Sanders wrote. "The evil act of anti-Semitism in Pittsburg was committed by a coward who hated President Trump because @POTUS is such an unapologetic defender of the Jewish community and state of Israel." Bustle has reached out to the White House for comment.
Two of the paper's front page headlines read "Bomb Suspect Found An Inspiration In Trump" and "Trump, Allies Set The Tone For The Violence They Denounce, Critics Say." The press secretary's tweet is reflective of the Trump administration's general attitude toward the press, but this particular sentiment provoked push back from people both inside and outside of the media.
"To be clear, the Washington Post is not attacking the president," responded Times White House correspondent Peter Baker. "The president's critics are and the Post is writing about the conflict. That's what newspapers do. We don't just quote the people in power but the people who disagree with the people in power."
Many on Twitter were particularly frustrated with the fact that, in writing such a controversial tweet, Sanders misspelled the name of the city Pittsburgh, leaving off the "h" at the end. "She can't even show enough respect to spell the name of the city correctly," wrote Alliance for Securing Democracy director Laura Rosenberger.
Those pushing back against the press secretary's tweet repeatedly referenced Trump's response to last year's white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where one counter-protestor was killed. (“You had some very bad people in that group," Trump said at the time, referring to white nationalist groups behind the rally. "But you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides.”)
"White nationalists at the Charlottesville rally came with torches, displayed giant swastikas, wore shirts quoting Hitler + chanted anti-Semitic slogans including 'Jews will not replace us," wrote Huffington Post politics reporter Jennifer Bendery. "One banner: 'Jews are Satan’s children.' Trump's response: 'Some very fine people.'"
Charlottesville made frequent appearances in responses to Sanders' tweet. Some suggested she wasn't being entirely truthful in her commentary.
"In Charlottesville they chanted, 'Jews will not replace us!'" wrote musician Mikel Jollett. "The President responded by calling them, 'Very good people.' THIS WEEK he said 'globalists' were hurting the world. 'Globalist' is the white nationalist term for 'Jew.' You are LYING."
On Saturday, a gunman opened fire at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, killing 11 people and injuring others. On Twitter Saturday, Trump responded to the shooting, writing that "all of America is in mourning."
"This evil Anti-Semitic attack is an assault on humanity," Trump said. "It will take all of us working together to extract the poison of Anti-Semitism from our world. We must unite to conquer hate."
As the Post reported, Trump' critics say that the president's rhetoric stokes divisions, and specifically, divisions based on religion and race. After the violent attacks that took place in the last week, these tensions have only intensified.