MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - While visiting the Twin Cities on Monday, potential 2020 rival Michael Bloomberg blamed President Donald Trump for the division that contributed to recent attacks motivated by politics and religion.
A gunman killed 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday, which crime law enforcement officials say was motivated by anti-Semitism. Days earlier, a man mailed bombs to prominent Trump critics.
"Unfortunately I think things are going from bad to worse and all of this partisan nastiness is really tearing the country apart," said Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York.
President Trump took a different view on who was to blame. In a Monday morning tweet, he said the news media was responsible for the increasing anger.
"There is great anger in our Country caused in part by inaccurate, and even fraudulent, reporting of the news," the president tweeted. "The Fake News Media, the true Enemy of the People, must stop the open & obvious hostility & report the news accurately & fairly."
Bloomberg's sharpest attacks came during an event during which he announced his philanthropic organization was giving $5 million to Minneapolis and St. Paul to fight climate change. Each city will get $2.5 million.
But Bloomberg overshadowed his own announcement with his criticism of the president's rhetoric.
"None of that stuff is helpful, it isn’t even cute, and unfortunately it has consequences," Bloomberg said.
Last week, after the mail bombings but before the synagogue shooting, the leader of the Republican National Committee said the division was not creating a drag for the GOP.
"I think voters are taking stock as to what candidates are talking about and what they are going to do in Washington," RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in an interview. "I think it’s a really clear choice and at the end of the day, I think voters will be voting based on the issues and not the news of the day."
Bloomberg, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter also attended a rally in St. Paul with Moms Demand Action, a leading advocacy group for tighter gun laws.
Bloomberg said the Nov. 6 election would be a "major test" of the gun control activists' political strength. Other speakers said the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting would reinforce their message before the election.
"What happened at the Tree of Life Synagogue was immoral, outrageous, and devastating. But it was not surprising," said Erin Zamoff of the Minnesota chapter of Moms Demand Action. "Easy access to firearms and the rising level of hate crimes is a deadly combination."