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President Trump hits the back even as the synagogue laments

When President Donald Trump visits Pittsburgh on Tuesday, he will face the difficult task of balancing the traditional presidential duty of comforting and uniting the country after the deadly shooting of the synagogue with its instinct to attack its political enemies and the press.

The White House fought to achieve that balance on Monday. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders opened her first press briefing in 26 days with a tearful statement about the shooting, but ended the briefing with a tirade against what the White House considers unfair coverage for. part of the press.

Sanders choked when he said Trump and first lady Melania Trump will travel to Pittsburgh on Tuesday after "a chilling act of mass murder" and an "act of hatred" that left 11 people dead in the Tree of Life synagogue . Sanders added that anti-Semitism is a "plague for humanity" and something that all Americans "have a duty to face."

But it was not long before Sanders criticized the press for highlighting Trump's harsh rhetoric in the election campaign in the run-up to the midterm elections. After the shooting, "the first thing the president did was condemn the attacks," Sanders said. "The first thing the media did was blame the president," he said. The media, he said, have "a great responsibility to play in the divisive nature of the country."

The press has not done enough to highlight the impact of Trump's policies on the booming economy and low unemployment, among other things, Sanders said. When asked if a national tragedy takes precedence over Trump's need to counterattack opponents, Sanders said Trump had "repeated on that occasion and worked to unite our country" after the Las Vegas shootings that killed 58 people in October 2017, hurricanes and The tragedy in Pittsburgh.

On Twitter on Monday, Trump blamed the media for "division and hatred" in the country and called the press "the true Enemy of the People."

It was not the first time that Trump fought to balance his instincts of political struggle.

After deadly clashes last year between neo-Nazis and protesters in Charlottesville, Va., Critics blamed Trump for the increase in racial tensions when he said there was "both sides' fault."

Contact the TIME editors about this story at editors@time.com.

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