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Trump speaks out against attacks on Jews and shooting of Indian immigrants

 (Evan Vucci / Associated Press)
(Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

President Trump condemned attacks against Jews and Indian immigrants during the opening of his speech Tuesday to a joint session of Congress, calling them examples of "hate and evil."

Trump also spoke out against recent vandalism that damaged hundreds of headstones at Jewish cemeteries in Philadelphia and outside St. Louis.

"Recent threats targeting Jewish Community Centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as last week's shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms," Trump said.

The president has been under mounting pressure to address the nearly 100 bomb threats against Jewish community centers, schools, Anti-Defamation League offices and other Jewish institutions since Jan. 4.

All of the threats have been hoaxes.

He's also been criticized for not forcefully condemning a racially motivated attack against two Indian immigrants last week in Olathe, Kan., that left one dead.

Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani were shot Feb. 21 at a restaurant. The suspect, 51-year-old Adam Purinton, allegedly yelled, "Get out of my country!" before the shooting in at  Austin's Bar and Grill in the Kansas City suburb on Feb. 21.

A man who tried to come to the victims' aid, 24-year-old Ian Grillot, 24, was also wounded.

In a 911 recording, authorities said, Purinton told an Applebees bartender who called police about the incident that he thought he was shooting at Iranians.

The remarks on anti-Jewish violence were not Trump's first. He addressed the issue on Feb. 21 at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, where he called anti-Semitism "horrible" and "painful."

But Jewish groups have called on the president to go further by announcing a federal plan to combat anti-Semitism.

Trump has had a tense relationship to American Jews and minority groups.

During the campaign, he retweeted posts from white nationalists and was accused of using anti-Semitic language and imagery .

Jewish groups criticized the White House when administration officials said the president intentionally did not mention Jews in a statement commemorating Holocaust Remembrance Day last month.

Criticism increased after weeks passed without him addressing bomb threats at Jewish centers before his remarks at the Washington museum.

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