The White House has angrily rejected suggestions President Donald Trump’s rhetoric could be to blame for a mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue.
Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said on Monday it was “outrageous” to suggest that Mr Trump or his language was at all responsible.
She said the president and first lady on Tuesday will visit Pennsylvania, where 11 people died on Saturday.
Suspected gunman Robert Bowers has appeared in court in a wheelchair.
The mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue is being called the worst anti-Semitic attack in US history.
“The president is not responsible for these acts,” Mrs Sanders said repeatedly during Monday’s news conference when a reporter put it to her that the president’s rhetoric could have played a part in the Pittsburgh attack, or a recent mail bomb scare.
“I think it’s irresponsible to blame the president and members of his administration for those heinous acts.”
Progressive Jewish leaders have called on the president to soften his tone in an open letter that now has more than 40,000 signatures.
The letter states the president is “not welcome in Pittsburgh” until he fully denounces white nationalism.
Shackled to a wheelchair
Analysis by Jane O’Brien, BBC News
Robert Bowers arrived shackled to a wheelchair wearing a blue shirt. His hands were untied to enable him to sign his name.
It’s OK, I can scribble, he said.
The hearing lasted only a few minutes to set a date for Thursday when the prosecution will bring evidence.
He was slightly hunched and looked down when addressed by the judge, who asked if he wanted to hear the complaint against him.
His lawyers declined and Mr Bowers was remanded to the custody of the sheriff with no bail. He faces federal murder and assault charges which could carry the death penalty.
The press secretary’s voice cracked with emotion as she spoke of how the president “adores” Jewish Americans.
What happened in court?
Mr Bowers – who was wounded in a gun battle with police during the shooting rampage – made his first court appearance on Monday afternoon.
A team of sharpshooters and police teams with dogs were part of the heavy security presence at the federal court as the 46-year-old truck driver was arraigned.
The suspect spoke little, only giving his name, acknowledging the charges against him and stating he could not afford a lawyer.
He faces 29 charges, including obstructing the exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death – a hate crime.
Federal prosecutors are considering seeking the death penalty against the suspect. He is next due in court later this week.
Who are the victims?
Eight men and three women were killed at the Tree of Life synagogue.
They ranged in age from 54 to 97 years old. The worshippers were well-known and devout congregants. Several had attended the synagogue since childhood.
Allegheny County chief medical examiner Dr Karl Williams said two brothers, and a husband and wife are among the dead.
- Joyce Fienberg, 75
- Richard Gottfried, 65
- Rose Mallinger, 97
- Jerry Rabinowitz, 66
- Cecil Rosenthal, 59
- David Rosenthal, 54, brother of Cecil
- Bernice Simon, 84
- Sylvan Simon, 86, husband of Bernice
- Daniel Stein, 71
- Melvin Wax, 88
- Irving Younger, 69
The first funerals will be held, for Cecil and David Rosenthal, on Tuesday.