President Trump gave a toned-down political rally in Illinois Saturday hours after a mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue Saturday morning. Mr. Trump addressed the deadly shooting at the opening, praising state and local law enforcement as "incredible" and calling the shooting an "evil anti-Semitic attack."
Mr. Trump said he thought about canceling the rally after the shooting, but he incorrectly noted that the New York Stock Exchange opened the "day after 9/11." It remained closed for six days after the terrorist attack.
"We have our lives," Mr. Trump said. "We have our schedules. And nobody's going to change it. So we're here. And let's have a good time. And if you don't mind: I'm going to tone it down just a little bit."
But Mr. Trump did hit some of his familiar campaign points, calling Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren "Pocahontas" about her DNA test. He also repeated his point that this will be an election "of caravans, Kavanaughs, law and order, tax cuts and you know what? And will be the election of common sense."
Ahead of the rally, Mr. Trump said he would be traveling to Pittsburgh. He also noted that he would be taking a "a different tone tonight."
"I have a much different tone if the press was fair," Mr. Trump said. "I'm fighting their lack of honesty. We are making America great again. They are biased against me. We can soft coat it but that's the way it is."
At an earlier event, a speech to the Future Farmers of America, in Indianapolis, the president said he had considered canceling his appearance at a political rally Saturday evening in Illinois after the shooting, which he condemned as a "wicked act of mass murder" that was "pure evil and frankly unimaginable."
"At first, I was thinking I'll cancel, and then I said, 'You know, we can't let evil change our life and change our schedule.' We can't do that. We have to go and do whatever we were going to do," he said to applause. "Otherwise we given them too much credit. We make them too important and you go with a heavy heart, but you -- you go. You don't want to change your life. You can't make them important."
Republican Rep. Mike Bost is hoping his re-election bid gets a boost from president's airport rally on his behalf. Bost is in a tight race against Democrat Brendan Kelly, the St. Clair County state's attorney. The 12th Congressional District is one of four GOP-held seats that Democrats are targeting as they try to take control of the House. Voters in this once reliably Democratic district heavily supported Mr. Trump in 2016, 55 percent to 40 percent, and CBS News rates this race lean Republican.
Less than two weeks before elections for control of Congress, the shooting followed a tense week dominated by a mail bomb plot with apparent political motivations and served as another toxic reminder of a divided nation.
"A lot of people killed," Trump said upon his arrival in Indiana. "A lot of people very badly wounded." He said the attack "looks definitely like it's an anti-Semitic crime" and "there must be no tolerance for anti-Semitism in America." Mr. Trump also said in Indiana that lawmakers "should very much bring the death penalty into vogue" and people who kill in places such as synagogues and churches "really should suffer the ultimate price."