US Vice President Pence delivers his speech during the 53rd Munich Security Conference in Munich.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
US Vice President Mike Pence said that President Donald Trump has vowed to fight bigotry in all forms as he addressed antisemitism while he visiting a factory outside of St. Louis -- after vandals toppled about 170 headstones at the Chesed Shel Emeth Society cemetery in St. Louis over the weekend.
"Speaking just yesterday President Trump called this a horrible and painful act," Pence said at the Fabick Caterpillar plant in Fenton, Missouri.
Trump delivered his first public condemnation of antisemitic incidents in the United States on Tuesday (February 21) after a new spate of bomb threats to Jewish community centers around the country and vandalism in the Jewish cemetery.
Several of the centers were evacuated for a time on Monday after receiving the threats, the JCC Association of North America said, and another center was evacuated on Tuesday morning in San Diego, California, according to police.
The comments marked a change for Trump, who had not explicitly and publicly condemned the threats against Jews when asked last week. Instead, he spoke more generally about his hopes of making the nation less "divided."
The president reacted with anger at a news conference last week when a journalist from a Jewish magazine asked how his government planned to "take care" of a rise in threats.
Pence spoke of his own recent visit to a concentration camp in Germany alongside a guide was a survivor of the Holocaust. "Before he left he spoke words that touch my heart," Pence said. "He spoke of that hellish existence in the waning days of the war and then he looked up at me with a smile and he said, "Then the Americans came,"' Pence said.