Robert Bowers has been named as the man accused in the mass shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue. That has a lot of people wondering about his politics, and whether Robert Bowers is a Republican or Democrat, a Donald Trump supporter or not.
Such questions were bound to arise fast because the accused package bomber, Cesar Sayoc, was an avid supporter of the president. In the case of Robert Bowers, though, his writings on social media indicate he wrote that he did not vote for Trump and held some animosity toward the president because he saw him as a “globalist” who was not doing enough against Jewish people. Bowers is in custody; he has gunshot wounds and is in fair condition, authorities said.
Daniel Stein, a new grandfather described as beloved family man, was the first deceased victim to be named. You can read tributes to the victims here.
The suspect’s ideology – again, as indicated by social media writings on a Gab account in his name – appears to be virulently anti-Semitic. Pennsylania’s voter registration data requires detailed information, including a zip code. A voter registration for Robert D. Bowers states that he is an unaffiliated voter.
The voter registration says:
ROBERT D BOWERS (Date of Birth: 09/04/1972) is registered to vote in ALLEGHENY County
Status : ACTIVE
Party : NO AFFILIATION
The suspect’s disturbing Gab account included a post in which he appears to have directly telegraphed what he was about to do.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Suspect Wrote That He Didn’t Vote for President Trump
Robert Bowers doesn’t appear to be a Donald Trump fan from his social account. He also wrote several hours before the shooting in a comment thread, “For the record, I did not vote for him nor have I owned, worn or even touched a maga hat.” That came in reply to a post about Trump.
Here’s a screenshot of that comment:
In a post two days before the mass shooting, he wrote, “Trump is a globalist, not a nationalist. There is no #MAGA as long as there is a kike infestation. #Qanon is here to get patriots that were against martial law in the 90’s to be the ones begging for it now to drain muh swamp. But go ahead and keep saying you are #Winning.”
Trump came up several times in his writings, but was not framed positively in them.
Trump has commented on the synagogue shooting, saying this:
“This was an anti-Semitic act. You wouldn’t think this would be possible in this day and age. But we just don’t seem to learn from the past,” the president said.
Robert Bowers shared virulently anti-Semitic and white supremacist commentary. He also made posts about weapons.
In addition to his own hate-filled writings, he shared anti-Semitic posts from other people. For example, one claimed, “Jews love persecution. It justifies offense and reinforces the need for strength in numbers to divide and conquer.”
He shared a cartoon someone else shared that showed a Jewish man saying in a fake conversation to Donald Trump, “Your character will appear to the public as a white racist. Its (sic) how we control Whites.” The Trump character responds, “yes sir” in a comment bubble.
The post shared by Bowers said, “The character we’ve chosen for you is of a good, strong white leader who is acting in the interests of his country. We must keep whites asleep for a few more years so they are totally outnumbered by our non-white minions and can never regain their country. Do this and we’ll keep your family safe & wealthy, & we won’t tell anyone about your trips to Lolita Island.”
He shared a post from someone else who used swastika and SS symbols with their name. “Kick the Jews OUT! This is Not Their Home!” it read.
He shared a post by someone else that read, “First Trump came for the Charlottesville 4 but I kept supporting Trump because he is better than Hillary Clinton. Then Trump came for the Rise Above Movement but I kept supporting Trump because he is better than Hillary Clinton. Then Trump came for the Proud Boys but I kept supporting Trump because he is better than Hillary Clinton. Then Trump came for me…”
He also reposted a comment from someone else that said, “Thought for the day: there are people running around warning you to not listen to the Nazis. 90% of the time these people are Jews…”
He also wrote, “(another person’s handle) be like: ‘Q is the way, the truth and the LARP. No one comes to the MAGA but by him.’ Also, you are still dodging my simple question. Are you or are you not a Jew?”
He shared another post that read, “Jews are waging a propaganda war against Western civilization and it is so effective that we are headed towards certain extinction.”
The Suspect Wrote That He Was ‘Going in’ Shortly Before the Mass Shooting
Just minutes before the shooting, the 46-year-old Pennsylvania man wrote on his GAB page, “HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.” Authorities say he did just that, shooting multiple people and responding officers in the nation’s latest horrific mass shooting.
GAB is a social media network that positions itself as an alternative to Twitter and Facebook because it champions free speech.
Three days ago, Robert Bowers, who also goes by the name Rob Bowers, wrote on the GAB account, “Daily Reminder: Diversity means chasing down the last white person.” His profile picture on GAB, where he’s had an account since January 2018, reads, “jews are the children of satan. (john 8:44) — —- the lord jesus christ is come in the flesh.”
He shared, 17 days ago, the website of HIAS, which included the “National Refugee Shabbat, a project of HIAS.”
He wrote, “Why hello there HIAS! You like to bring in hostile invaders to dwell among us? We appreciate the list of friends you have provided” and then shared a link to a HIAS list of congregations. (The website of HIAS describes it as an organization that was “founded in 1881 originally to assist Jews fleeing pogroms in Russia and Eastern Europe, HIAS has touched the life of nearly every Jewish family in America and now welcomes all who have fled persecution.”
That link to the HIAS page went to a page that read, “National Refugee Shabbat 2018 is a moment for congregations, organizations, and individuals around the country to create a Shabbat experience dedicated to refugees.” It then listed participating congregations.
Police Dispatch Audio Indicates the Shooter Said He Wanted All Jews to Die
The active shooter at the Squirrel Hill Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania made comments about wanting all Jews to die, according to police dispatch audio.
The audio, from Broadcastify, captured officers relaying the suspect’s alleged comments to dispatch. It was not immediately clear from authorities how many people were shot or deceased. However, CBS Pittsburgh reported that at least eight people were dead. The fatality count later rose to 11.
“Suspect talking about all these Jews need to die. We’re still communicating with him,” said one officer on the dispatch audio. A short time later, another officer followed up with a similar disturbing comment.
“The suspect is talking about killing Jews. He doesn’t want any of them to live,” said another officer. One officer said the shooter claimed to be heading to his vehicle when he “engaged officers responding.”
Police confirmed that there are multiple victims.
“We have multiple casualties,” Pittsburgh police confirmed in a press conference. “We have dispatched to active gunfire at the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill.” Police asked neighbors to shelter in place.
CBS Pittsburgh reported that the suspect is a white male who was crawling and wounded. A Saturday service was underway at the synagogue when the mass shooting occurred.
According to dispatch audio, there was a shot officer down on the second floor, and a military style package was found. Officers referred to multiple weapons, including an AR-15. Officers were negotiating with the suspect to surrender. Scanner traffic is always preliminary and subject to change as more information comes out. In the dispatch audio, authorities were referring to devices while clearing the synagogue. Authorities were flying a drone over the building to see if they could have an access point to check out a “device.”
The synagogue was described as a landmark and anchor to the neighborhood.
Reporter Myles Miller, of PIX11, noted, “For those who don’t know, Squirrel Hill is Pittsburgh’s largest Jewish neighborhood. Tree of Life * Or L’Simcha is perhaps the biggest congregation in the area.”
You can read more about the mass shooting here.