He continued: “But more than that, I want to say: Hate is not what America stands for. And tonight, all of us are with you.”
The shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood left 11 people dead. Police arrested Robert Bowers, 46; he allegedly told authorities that he was seeking to kill Jews.
“Now I know what you’re saying,” Colbert said, as he tried to inject some humor back into his monologue. “You’re saying, ‘Yeah, it’s easy to have that kind of goodwill between historical friends like the Jewish people and the Muslims.’ ”
Colbert also said he was inspired by the memorial vigil held in Pittsburgh over the weekend, and read the remarks delivered by an emotional Rabbi Jonathan Perlman: “What happened yesterday will not break us. It will not ruin us. We will continue to thrive and sing and worship and learn together and continue our historic legacy in the city with the friendliest people that I know.”
“Yes,” Colbert said, “it is going to take a lot more than this to break the resolve of the Jewish people. They will continue to worship, to learn and to sing.”
Then, the late-night comic turned his attention to President Trump — “naturally, in times like these, our nation looks to our president for comfort and guidance. That’s our first mistake” — and ridiculed Trump’s suggestion that armed individuals in the place of worship could have prevented the attack.
“Yes, it’s so simple,” Colbert said, in his fake Trump voice. “In fact, why didn’t the Jewish people have an armed guard for the last 5,000 years? Moses could have saved a lot of time walking through the desert if Pharaoh knew he was packing.”
Earlier in the day, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway criticized late-night comedians in a “Fox & Friends” segment about the victims of the mass shooting.
“The anti-religiosity in this country that is somehow in vogue and funny to make fun of anybody of faith, to constantly be making fun of people who express religion, the late-night comedians, the unfunny people on TV shows — it’s always anti-religious,” she said. “And remember, these people were gunned down in their place of worship, as were the people in South Carolina several years ago. And they were there because they’re people of faith, and it’s that faith that needs to bring us together. This is no time to be driving God out of the public square.”
Those comments prompted many on social media to point out that Colbert is a devout Catholic and longtime Sunday school teacher.