Hundreds of people on Tuesday protested against United States President Donald Trump’s visit to the synagogue in Pittsburgh where a gunman killed 11 people on Saturday, AFP reported. Protestors near the Tree of Life synagogue carried signs reading “President Hate, Leave Our State!” and “Trump, Renounce White Nationalism Now”.
Trump lit a candle for each of the 11 people who died in the attack. He was accompanied by his wife Melania Trump, daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner. The visit was on the day mourners attended the first funerals for those who died on Saturday.
Bill Peduto, the mayor of Pittsburgh, had on Monday urged the president not to visit on the day of the first funerals. Peduto neither met Trump nor joined the protests, reported The New York Times. Four Republican and Democratic congressional leaders who the White House had invited to join Trump also refused to come.
After visiting the synagogue, Trump spent an hour and a half at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, where he met four police officers who were injured during the shooting, and also sat for about an hour with the widow of one of the men who were killed.
“While our community is still processing this violence from a few days ago, we recognise that it did not happen in a vacuum,” said Ardon Shorr, who helped organise a protest. “These Jews were targeted specifically because they were helping refugees.”
He called the president’s visit “insulting” to the victims and their families.
Over 70,000 people had earlier signed an open letter from Jewish leaders in the city saying that Trump was “not welcome” unless he “fully denounces white nationalism”, BBC reported. People standing by as the president’s motorcade drove made obscene gestures and showed thumbs-down, reported AP.
Protestors blame Trump for his anti-immigrant rhetoric and his tacit support to white nationalism. The person who opened fire at the synagogue was a white man who shouted “All Jews must die” as he fired his weapon. He surrendered later and was arrested. Trump had earlier condemned the “evil anti-Semitic attack” as “an assault on humanity”.
“Saturday’s violence was a direct culmination of your influence,” the organiser of a protest said, reading from an open letter sent to Trump.