President Donald Trump echoed calls for unity that came out all across America on Saturday in the wake of a mass shooting that took the lives of 11 individuals in attendance at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The shooter had strong anti-Semitic views. Because of this, Trump made certain he stood against such hatred in his statements following the massacre, calling for unity across America against bigoted sentiments.
“It will require all of us working together to extract the hateful poison of anti-Semitism,” Trump said, according to reporting from the New York Times.
That call for unity didn’t last long. In the late hours of the very same day following those statements, Trump sent out a tweet, sharing a different message from a controversial figure the president had actually pardoned earlier in his tenure.
“Very interesting!” Trump wrote about a tweet sent by Dinesh D’Souza. The far-right conservative figure had suggested in his own posting that the left were going “berserk” over Trump’s presidency in a tweet he shared earlier in the day.
“When Lincoln, an outsider and a Republican, won the election of 1860, all hell broke lose and Democrats went berserk. Sound familiar?” D’Souza wrote.
Very interesting! https://t.co/ZmSA4v5fKi
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 28, 2018
D’Souza’s remarks are a retelling of events that disregard the next 158 years of American history. In fact, the ideologies of the parties have switched in a century-and-a-half, and many people question whether Lincoln himself would be a Republican if he were alive today.
“The Republican Party today has turned into a group of people who don’t actually believe that government is a good thing. You can’t have any connection to Abraham Lincoln if you think that,” Lincoln screenwriter Tony Kushner previously said.
The sharing of D’Souza’s tweet is controversial for yet another reason. Just a month after Trump had pardoned him of federal crimes, D’Souza, who was promoting his own historically inaccurate film about Lincoln, had himself retweeted a different social media posting to promote his movie.
That tweet that D’Souza shared to all of his followers included the hashtag #burntheJews.
D’Souza claimed after the fact that he was “just trying to share the trailer on social media” and had mistakenly overlooked the anti-Semitic hashtag. But it’s not the first time he’s made anti-Semitic comments, as he’s peddled conspiracy theories involving George Soros in the past as well.
Trump’s ties to and admiration of D’Souza may cause some to think twice about his calls for unity. Beyond D’Souza being a very partisan and conspiratorial figure, he’s also pushed anti-Jewish viewpoints. Trump perhaps should have thought twice before promoting D’Souza’s thoughts, on this weekend of all weekends, following the mass murder of Jewish Americans at a place of worship.