Culpability is a tricky thing, and politicians, especially of the demagogic variety, know this very well. Unless they go as far as organized, documented, state-implemented slaughter, they don’t give specific directions. They don’t have to. They simply set the tone. In the end, someone else does the dirty work, and they never have to lift a finger — let alone stain it with blood.
But the Pittsburgh shooter didn't like Trump.
Never mind that the Bowers disliked Trump because he felt he was too soft on “the k--- infestation,” he wrote online, using a slur for Jews. “Trump is a globalist, not a nationalist,” Bowers wrote on one of his social media accounts. But to the president’s defenders, this was a hopeful moment, one they could use to separate Trump from the carnage at Tree of Life. There was an important difference between “a shooter who hates Trump,” wrote conservative writer David French, and the man who loved Trump who sent Trump’s critics all those pipe bombs. Conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt pointed out that anti-Semitism “transcends the left/right divide.” In these defenders’ minds, this absolves Trump of any guilt. It doesn’t.
Ioffe, whose Jewish family emigrated from the former Soviet Union because of fears of persecution, explains:
Trump has had enough to say about the Jews that his supporters may easily make certain pernicious inferences. During the campaign, he joked at a meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition that it wouldn’t support him “because I don’t want your money.” A campaign-era tweet about Hillary Clinton superimposed a Star of David over dollar bills. He said the white-supremacist marchers at Charlottesville last year were “fine people.” After I published a profile of Trump’s third wife, Melania, that displeased her — and his supporters — the alt-right deluged me with anti-Semitic insults and imagery, culminating in clear death threats — such as an image of a Jew being shot execution-style or people ordering coffins in my name. When Trump was asked to condemn these attacks by his supporters, he said, “I don’t have a message” for them. That day, my terrified father called me and pointed out that it was the 26th anniversary of our family’s arrival in America.
To be clear, I don't think Trump gives a shit about Jewish people. He has no ideological vendetta against Jews but he's happy to let Jewishness be used to smear and threaten his opponents. Like Putin and other demagogues, he doesn't really care if someone else does the dirty work of making his opponents fear him, nor does he care about the niceties of invoking fear, so he has no problem with antisemitic attacks on opponents. And if those antisemitic smears lead to attacks on Jewish bystanders, Trump doesn't care. He goes on to fret about his hair getting wet before a rally and he viciously smears a recent pipe-bomb target who has been used in antisemitic smears such as the pinned tweet GOP majority leader Kevin McCarthy deleted immediately after the synagogue attack.