Most of the frontrunners for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2020 reacted to the synagogue shooting in Poway, California, on Saturday by denouncing “gun violence.”
The shooting, in which one women was killed and three congregants (including the rabbi) injured, was stopped partially due to the fact that an off-duty U.S. Border Patrol agent at the synagogue was able to obtain a weapon and return fire at the fleeing gunman.
Still, most of the leading Democratic candidates condemned “gun violence.”
Former vice president Joe Biden was among them. He also referenced a line from his campaign launch video, which falsely claimed that President Donald Trump had called neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia, “very fine people.” Biden tweeted: “We’re in the battle for the soul of this nation.”
Jill and I are devastated to hear about today’s shooting at the Chabad Poway synagogue. No one should have to worship in fear.
As a country, we must speak out against bigotry and gun violence. We’re in the battle for the soul of this nation—and it’s on all of us to act.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) April 28, 2019
Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) — who came under fire from rival Hillary Clinton in 2016 over his supposed support for gun rights in Vermont earlier in his political career — also tweeted about “gun violence”:
Another horrific shooting at a place of worship, today at the Poway Synagogue in San Diego County. We must work every day to eradicate all forms of hatred and bigotry, and take serious action to protect Americans from gun violence.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) April 27, 2019
California’s own Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) also tweeted against “gun violence” — though California has the most restrictive gun control laws in the country:
Yet again a place of worship is the target of senseless gun violence and hate. Anti-Semitism is real in this country and we must not be silent – enough is enough. My heart aches for the Chabad of Poway synagogue and the Jewish community.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) April 27, 2019
Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) followed suit:
Heartbroken by the gun violence at Chabad of Poway synagogue on the last day of Passover. I stand with our Jewish neighbors and their freedom to practice their faith without fear. We must act now to end this hatred and gun violence. May the memories of those lost be a blessing.
— Beto O’Rourke (@BetoORourke) April 27, 2019
Mayor Pete Buttigieg was one notable exception:
This Shabbat brings another deadly attack on Jews, at worship, on American soil. Whenever anyone comes to harm because of their faith, we are all diminished. We cannot rest until hate has no home.
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) April 27, 2019
President Trump applauded the Border Patrol agent while denouncing the “hate crime” in Poway.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.