Sean Spicer Refuses To Acknowledge Timothy Caughman’s Murder As A Hate Crime
By Daily News
White House spokesman Sean Spicer sidestepped questions Monday over the murder of Timothy Caughman,
using questions over the heinous slaying to defend people on “the right” he said were blamed too quickly for a recent wave of anti-Semitic threats.
Just hours before James Jackson was charged with murder as an act of terrorism for fatally stabbing Caughman in Midtown, Spicer was asked during his daily press briefing Monday to condemn the race-driven attack and speak about the rise of hate crimes that has beset the nation in recent months.
Referencing a front page story from Monday’s Daily News, American Urban Radio Networks reporter April Ryan told Spicer that Jackson “gave a statement to a reporter talking about he wishes the man were younger and he was a thug that (was) killed. So what do you say to this? This is clear — it’s racism at its ugliest.”
Instead, Spicer dodged and weaved, claiming that President Trump “wanted to unite the country,” citing the commander-in-chief’s recent sitdown with the Congressional Black Caucus, and stating broadly that “hate crimes and anti-Semitic crimes of any nature should be called out.”
“There is no room for that in our country,” he said.
He then launched into a diatribe against the media for “immediately jumping” on “people on the right” regarding a wave of bomb threats against Jewish community centers.
Many of the calls were ultimately traced back to a 19-year-old with dual American and Israeli citizenship.
And it turns out, it wasn’t someone on the right,” Spicer said.
“There’s no question, black and white, we need to call out all instances,” he added. “But I do think there’s been a rush to judgment on some of the anti-Semitic cases.”
“In that particular case, we saw that the President was right,” Spicer said. “And a lot of the folks on the left were wrong.”
He said he didn’t know details of the Jackson case, which took place in the President’s hometown, and where Trump’s wife and young son still live.
Jackson, 28, had traveled to New York from Baltimore with the explicit purpose of killing a black person, officials said, and had stalked several blacks before settling on Caughman, a 66-year-old bottle collector from Queens.
The former soldier, who served with the Army in Afghanistan, said he’d intended for the killing to be “a practice run” — the first step in a larger plan with many more casualties.
While the President has called out specific terror attacks abroad by Muslim extremists, he’s been largely silent about the surge in hate crimes in the U.S., except to say he condemns racism and hate crimes generally.
Mayor de Blasio’s spokesman Eric Phillips took a shot at his White House counterpart later on Twitter, saying, “Words matter and it’s the spokesperson’s job to get them right. Call it what it is, Sean. It’s a hate crime — and it’s terrorism.”