Trump Visits Pittsburgh As Local Officials Decline To Join Him

As President Trump paid his respects to the Tree of Life shooting victims, protesters signaled that he wasn't welcome.

President Donald Trump, accompanied by first lady Melania Trump, visited Pittsburgh on Tuesday, four days after an anti-Semitic gunman opened fire on a packed synagogue and killed 11 people.

The Trumps paid their respects at the Tree of Life synagogue, where makeshift memorials have been erected for the victims of Saturday’s attack. Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner accompanied the president, while protesters crowded nearby streets to grieve and signal to the president that he wasn’t welcome.

“Trump, apologize for stoking the hatred or go home,” one protester’s sign read. “Hate does not work in our neighborhoods,” read another, according to CNN.

Meanwhile, the first funerals for the victims of the attack were also being held in the city.

Mayor Bill Peduto, a Democrat, urged Trump not to visit Pittsburgh “while we are burying the dead,” so the attention would remain on the victims and their funerals.

Two Democrats and two Republicans had also declined the White House’s invitation to join the president on the trip, including House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), The Washington Post reported.

Also declining invitations was Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey (R), according to PIX 11.

A rabbi identified as Jeffrey Myers led the president and first lady to each of the 11 makeshift memorials set up outside of the Tree of Life synagogue.

The Trumps placed a white flower and small stone atop each Jewish star memorial, in line with Jewish tradition and as a show of respect for the deceased. Ivanka Trump and Kushner followed suit, a few paces behind.

Inside the synagogue, the first couple also lit candles for the victims, but they did not enter the crime scene, the White House said.

As the Trumps and Myers continued with their ceremony, cries from nearby protesters could be heard by journalists, according to the White House pool report. The protesters reportedly yelled, “Words have meaning” and “No more hate.”

After the synagogue, the Trumps visited the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, where the president met with four patients who were still recovering from the attack and their families.

Protesters gathered as President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump visited the memorials of the Tree of Life shooting victims.
Protesters gathered as President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump visited the memorials of the Tree of Life shooting victims.

Pittsburgh Councilman Corey O’Connor joined demonstrators during their protest of Trump’s visit.

“We’re sort of saying, ‘Now is not the time.’ Today, we were grieving, we’re going to be grieving for the next few weeks, and today wasn’t a time to draw more national attention to us,” O’Connor told CNN’s “Situation Room.”

“We are a tough city. We are going to get through this, we are all going to battle together, and that’s what Pittsburgh is all about. And we will get through this, but today was a difficult time for additional attention.”

Funeral services were held on Tuesday for three of the victims, including brothers Cecil and David Rosenthal, and Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz.

Mourners at the funerals were also conflicted about Trump’s visit.

“It’s always positive the president lets people know the administration in the United States is concerned,” Chris Volz, who attended Rabinowitz’s funeral, told The New York Times. “But I think he needed to wait. People are still mourning.”

CORRECTION: A previous version of the story incorrectly stated that Sen. Bob Casey (D-Penn.) declined an invitation to join Trump.

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