Pittsburgh residents protest Trump’s visit after synagogue shooting over racist rhetoric
After the fatal shooting of 11 Jews at the Tree of Life synagogue, hundreds came together to mourn their loss. Prominent Muslim groups raised over $200,000 to cover the victims’ funeral expenses. But as the community was recouping from the loss, President Trump’s visit divided a grieving town.
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump and members of his family came to Pittsburgh to pay tribute to the victims and their grieving families. According to the Washington Post, the president lit memorial candles near the scene of the shooting and brought flowers from the White House’s garden.
However, many community members pushed back against the presidential visit, citing the obvious disconnect from Trump’s racist rhetoric and actions to commemorate those who died due to anti-Semitic violence.
The day before Trump’s arrival, Pittsburgh’s mayor Bill Peduto told the president not to come to the grieving city. Peduto and all invited congressional leaders declined to join Trump on his visit. Throughout the day, Orthodox Jews, students, and other protesters marched from Beechwood Boulevard to the local Presbyterian church. Some sang songs in Hebrew. Many carried signs which read, “President Hate is not welcome in our state.”
Washington Post writer Kyle Swenson shared a protester’s sign on Twitter.
This sign about sums up the attitude of every Pittsburgh resident I talked to today. pic.twitter.com/xfxmLsGhZw
— Kyle Swenson (@kyletalking) October 30, 2018
local community organizer Ardon Shorr told the Post, “This didn’t happen in a vacuum. There is a growing trend of white nationalism. And that has been enabled by Trump, who traffics in the kind of conspiracy theories that we know were foremost in the mind of the shooter last Saturday.”
The New York Times reports that Steven Halle, the nephew of victim Daniel Stein, said of the president’s address, “It was just a worthless thing to say. When something tragic has happened, you don’t kick people when they are down. There should have been an apology.” The family declined to meet with Trump.
However, Rabbi Myers of Tree of Life told the Washington Post, “I welcome him as an American. He is the president.”