President Trump and Melania Trump met with Rabbi Jeffrey Myers on during their visit to Pittsburgh on Tuesday and laid flowers and stones on memorials for the 11 worshipers killed at the Tree of Life synagogue. Meanwhile, thousands of protesters gathered blocks away, singing Hebrew songs.
The president and first lady did not travel with and were not greeted by any local or state politicians when they arrived Tuesday afternoon. The mayor, local government officials, and the Republicans and Democrats in the congressional leadership refused to join the president. Instead Trump arrived at the synagogue with daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, who are both Orthodox Jews, along with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who is Jewish, and Israeli ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer.
Trump’s next stop on his brief trip was to visit with police officers and first responders in local hospitals.
Rabbi Myers was one of the few local figures or members of the Jewish community who welcomed the president’s visit. Some objected because of the timing—Jewish funerals tend occur very soon after someone’s death, and two of the funerals were Tuesday. Others said that Trump’s aggressive rhetoric against immigrants and overall divisiveness hardly made him the comforter the community sought.
“Now is not the time,” Pittsburgh City Councilman Corey O’Connor told CNN.
While a number of local officials and members of the Pittsburgh Jewish community spoke out against Trump’s visit, Rabbi Myers was the one notable exception who said he would welcome Trump to the synagogue.
“Now is not the time,” Pittsburgh city councilman Corey O’Connor told CNN.