Josh Shapiro, the newly-elected attorney general of Pennsylvania, is either too cute or too dumb.
President Trump, in a meeting of state attorneys general, apparently noted that the spate of Jewish cemetery vandalism and bomb threats to Jewish centers could be hate hoaxes.
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."
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.
Trump says attacks on Jewish sites could be 'to make others look bad,' Pennsylvania AG says, Philly.com, February 28, 2017
Which is certainly true. As of five seconds ago, nobody knows who the culprits are. They could be neo-Nazi skinheads. They could be members of ISIS. (See CNN BREAKING: Law enforcement officials believe many of the threatening calls to Jewish centers originated overseas. ) They could be thrill-seeking teenagers. They could be some unrelated mix of all three.
Or they could be Jews themselves. Surely Shapiro, who is Jewish, understands this.
If he's not aware of the very well-documented phenomenon of hate hoaxes, it's a sign that he is remarkably uninformed for an attorney general of a major state.
But if he is, and wants to pretend to the press that he isn't—thereby taking them along on a Trump-is-a-Nazi story line, he's one manipulative piece of politician slime. The gullible press must be excited to have a new quote machine.
Naturally, he is hoping that the culprits are whites, preferably individuals who could be described as white supremacists by the media. Trump may be hoping the opposite. But I'm very much heartened by his obvious awareness of the hate hoax phenomenon.
Of course, seekers of truth will calmly accept whatever the identities of the culprits are. The bigger truth is that both hate crimes and hate hoaxes can only thrive in societies where diversity has spiraled out of control.