Kellyanne Conway Blames 'Anti-Religious' Sentiment for Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting and Black Church Attack

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Donald Trump, on Monday blamed "anti-religious" sentiment for an attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue Saturday that resulted in the killing of 11 people. The suspect apprehended in the attack had posted virulent anti-Semitic messages online and is reported to have expressed similar messages of hate against Jews during the attack. There is no evidence that he posted messages that targeted religion as a whole.

"The anti-religiosity in this country that's somehow in vogue and funny to make fun of anybody of faith, to constantly be making fun of people who express religion—the late-night comedians, the unfunny people on TV shows—it's always anti-religious," Conway said during an appearance on Fox News morning show Fox & Friends.

"And remember, these people were gunned down in their place of worship, as were the people in South Carolina several years ago," she continued. "And they were there because they're people of faith, and it's that faith that needs to bring us again. This is no time to be driving God out of the public square, no time to be making fun of people."

Conway's mention of South Carolina appeared to be a reference to a mass shooting at a black church in Charleston in 2015, which led to the murder of nine churchgoers. A white supremacist, Dylann Roof, was convicted and sentenced to death for carrying out the shooting.

In the aftermath of the weekend's shooting in Pittsburgh, Trump condemned what he called a "wicked act of pure evil and anti-Semitic," saying, "We must all rise above the hate, move past our divisions and embrace our common destiny as Americans."

kellyanne conway, pittsburgh synagogue shooting
Counselor to President Donald Trump Kellyanne Conway participates in a TV interview on October 3. Alex Wong/Getty Images

However, it took the persistent urging of his Jewish daughter, Ivanka Trump, and son-in-law Jared Kushner in order for the president to release a statement specifically condemning anti-Semitism, according to The New York Times.

Trump has frequently been criticized for not doing enough to denounce hate, specifically that which targets the Jewish community. After a deadly rally by white nationalists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia, last August, Trump said there was blame on "both sides" and also "very fine people" on both sides.

After a spate of bomb threats targeting Jewish community centers last year, Trump appeared to suggest that they might in fact be false-flag attacks to make people "look bad."

Trump has repeatedly complained about attacks on religion but expressed it as a campaign against Christianity, including a "war on Christmas."​