As news was unfolding regarding Saturday's hostage situation at Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, the Michigan attorney general speculated that "white supremacy" was to blame for the terrorist attack.
"We have seen an incredible rise in rhetoric that is anti-Semitic being trafficked all around the country," said Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, in a Saturday afternoon appearance on MSNBC, about an hour after it had been reported that the hostage-taker was demanding the release of convicted terrorist Aafia Siddiqui, known as "Lady Al-Qaeda" in counterterrorism circles.
In a video clip first reported by the Washington Free Beacon, the Michigan official pointed to a rise in hate crimes and formation of white supremacist groups.
Nessel said her "biggest concern" was that the attack was a "hate crime" or "domestic terrorism," pointing to "white supremacy organizations."
"If it does turn out that is the motivating factor here, it would hardly be a surprise," Nessel said, further citing "an exponential rise in the formation and the membership of these extremist organizations, many of which are white supremacy organizations, and they traffic in hatred against Jews and other minorities."
Nessel's on-air statement on the left-wing network happened while the hours-long standoff was in progress Saturday and before the now-deceased attacker was identified Sunday as 44-year-old Malik Faisal Akram, a British national.
More than an hour before Nessel's appearance, ABC News reporter Aaron Katersky reported that the suspect was demanding the release of Siddiqui, who is serving an 86-year sentence in a Texas federal prison for trying to kill US military officers.
Nessel made no mention of the possibility that the attacker, who interrupted morning service at the synagogue and held several Jews hostage, could be a Muslim terrorist, speculating only at the time that it was "domestic terrorism."
White House press secretary Jen Psaki was slammed Saturday for omitting details about the Jewish victims and details known about the suspect when she described the hostage situation on Twitter. "[The President of the United States] has been briefed about the developing hostage situation in the Dallas area," Psaki wrote.
"He will continue to receive updates from his senior team as the situation develops," the Biden admin staffer added. "Senior members of the national security team are also in touch with federal law enforcement leadership."