U.S. President Donald Trump flew to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to pay respects to the 11 victims of Saturday’s shooting, the worst anti-semitic attack in American history.
He was accompanied by his wife Melania Trump, daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner who is a Jew himself. The Trumps visited the Tree of Life Synagogue where the attack took place. They laid stones and white roses atop 11 Star of David markers planted in the ground outside the Tree of Life Synagogue. The traditional Jewish practice was in remembrance of the victims.
However, Trump’s visit was also noticed for the lack of support given by politicians who did not want him to visit especially this close to the time of the attack. Local officials said Trump's presence in the city was not welcomed and said they had asked the White House to delay a visit until after the victims of the attack were buried.
Apart from local leaders, elected Congressmen from Trump’s own party such as Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi were all asked to join the President but did not take part in the visit. Those who chose to stay out of his entourage included Pennsylvania’s Republican Senator Pat Toomey. Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto -- who said this week Trump should forestall a visit while burials begin -- also did not appear with Trump.
Even while Trump was at the synagogue, protesters could be heard chanting against him. Angry residents and neighbors formed a march near the synagogue where the President was paying his respects. Several carried signs objecting to Trump's visit, bearing slogans like "Words Matter," "Strength through Unity," "Watch Your Words" and "Hate does not work in our Neighborhoods."
Trump’s rhetoric which has included many points espoused by White Supremacists, is being blamed for the increased hate and division in the U.S. The President was also sent a letter by a Jewish group from Pittsburgh who wrote that his words and policies over the past three years "have emboldened a growing white nationalist movement," and that he is not welcome until he "fully (denounces) white nationalism."
Trump as in daily life, also seems to divide his citizens during times of sorrow.