Trump says attacks on Jewish sites could be 'to make others look bad,' Pennsylvania AG says

President Trump on Tuesday told attorneys general from across the country that the recent rash of attacks and threats against Jewish institutions was “reprehensible” but suggested that it might not only reflect anti-Semitism, according to Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

Sometimes, the president said, "the reverse can be true," Shapiro said, recalling the conversation at the White House. "Someone's doing it to make others look bad."

>>Click here for complete coverage of vandalism at the cemetery

Shapiro said he found the comment “a bit curious.” He said Trump promised to speak about the topic in his address to Congress Tuesday night.

"Hopefully, he'll clarify a bit more about what he means about the reverse possibly being true," Shapiro said.

(Trump will speak "directly" to threats against Jewish community centers in his speech to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night, a White House official said later Tuesday, though declining to comment specifically on Shapiro's version of the exchange.  
"The president has been abundantly clear whenever asked this that he wholeheartedly condemns anti-Semitism and any acts of hate that are motivated towards religious or racial communities," said the official, who briefed reporters on the condition that the person's name not be used.)

The comments came during a conversation between the president and state attorneys general, who are gathering in Washington. Shapiro, who is Jewish, took office last month. After the meeting, he quickly arranged a teleconference call with reporters to share what happened.

"Myself and many other [attorneys general] of both parties were a little bit surprised," he said. 

In Philadelphia on Saturday night, more than 100 tombstones in the Mount Carmel Jewish cemetery were vandalized. Jewish community centers have also received threats.