Trump says Pittsburgh attack lays bare 'hate' in US

Donald Trump State of the Union address January 30, 2018.

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump on Saturday lamented the ``devastating'' attack by a shooter on a Pittsburgh synagogue, saying it lays bare the ``hate in our country'' and speculating that the deadly violence would have been curbed if the building had had an armed guard.

With both the death toll and details of the synagogue's security still to be disclosed, Trump said gun control ``has little to do with it'' but ``if they had protection inside, the results would have been far better.''

Authorities said the gunman opened fire during a baby-naming ceremony Saturday morning at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighbourhood. The attack is being investigated as a hate crime.

``This is a case where, if they had an armed guard inside, they might have been able to stop him immediately,'' Trump said. ``Maybe there would have been nobody killed, except for him, frankly. So it's a very, very - a very difficult situation.''

In previous mass shootings, Trump has at times said he would consider tightening certain gun controls but in the main has called for more armed guards in places such as schools.

``The world is a violent world,'' he said Saturday. ``And you think when you're over it, it just sort of goes away, but then it comes back in the form of a madman, a wacko. ... They had a maniac walk in and they didn't have any protection and that is just so sad to see, so sad to see.''

Trump said lawmakers ``should very much bring the death penalty into vogue'' and people who kill in places such as synagogues and churches ``really should suffer the ultimate price.''

At the Future Farmers of America convention rally in Indianapolis later Saturday afternoon, the U.S. President condemned the attack once again, saying ``there must be no tolerance for anti-Semitism in America.''

Trump called it a ``wicked act of mass murder'' that ``is pure evil, hard to believe and frankly something that is unimaginable.''

He says the nation and the word are ``shocked and stunned'' by grief and is calling on the country to come together and that  anti-Semitism ``must be confronted anywhere and everywhere it appears.''

Trump has at times been accused by critics of failing to adequately condemn hate, such as when he blamed ``both sides'' for the violence at a Charlottesville white supremacist rally.

- With files from NEWSTALK1010