Contrary to the verbal diarrhea of Trump mouthpiece Kellyanne “Alternative Facts” Conway, who somehow placed the blame for the recent massacre at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue—wherein a heavily armed, far-right gunman murdered 11 peaceful worshippers between the ages of 54 and 97—on “late-night comedians” for their “anti-religiosity,” Stephen Colbert is one of the more pious folks on television.
Colbert is a former Sunday school teacher who knows the Bible by heart and regularly quotes scripture on his late-night program The Late Show. And on Monday evening, the comedian began his monologue by addressing the tragedy at Tree of Life.
“It has been a rough week,” said a solemn Colbert. “On Saturday in Pittsburgh at the Tree of Life synagogue, a mass shooter murdered eleven worshippers. It was the worst act of violence against Jewish people in U.S. history. It’s tragic, it’s sickening, and our thoughts are with the victims, their families, and the larger Jewish community.”
“But more than that, I want to say: Hate is not what America stands for,” Colbert continued. “And tonight, all of us are with you. Case in point: Hours after the shooting, a Muslim group started a crowdfunding site for victims with the goal of raising $25,000; so far, they’ve raised over $140,000. Tarek El-Messedi, the activist who started the page, explained, ‘We wish to respond to evil with good…’” (The total was up to $158,000 at time of writing.)
“And I was also inspired by the 2,500 people who turned up on Sunday for a memorial service at the University of Pittsburgh, where Rabbi Jonathan Perlman said, ‘What happened yesterday will not break us. It will not ruin us. We will continue to thrive and sing and worship and learn together and continue our historic legacy in the city with the friendliest people that I know.’”
“Yes, it is going to take a lot more than this to break the resolve of the Jewish people. They will continue to worship, to learn, and to sing,” Colbert concluded.
With that, his mood shifted from somber to incensed, as he took on President Trump’s reaction to the massacre.
“Naturally, in times like these, our nation looks to its president for comfort and guidance. That’s our first mistake,” offered Colbert. “Immediately after the shooting, Trump told reporters how the attack in Pittsburgh could have been prevented. Spoiler alert: It’s more guns.”
“This is a case where, if they had an armed guard inside, they might have been able to stop [the shooter] immediately,” Trump told reporters.
Colbert, imitating Trump, joked: “Yes, it’s so simple. In fact, why didn’t the Jewish people have an armed guard for the last 5,000 years? Moses could have saved a lot of time walking in the desert if Pharaoh knew he was packin’, you know what I mean?”
The victims of the Tree of Life synagogue massacre are David Rosenthal, 54; Cecil Rosenthal, 59; Richard Gottfried, 65; Jerry Rabinowitz, 66; Irving Younger, 69; Daniel Stein, 71; Joyce Fienberg, 75; Bernice Simon, 84; Sylvan Simon, 86; Melvin Wax, 88; and Rose Mallinger, 97. They are gone but not forgotten.