Mayor Bill Peduto and many Jewish faith leaders have asked Donald Trump not to travel to Pittsburgh, noting that now is a time of mourning that should not be politicized.
Trump, however, will not be listening to their pleas. According to the Washington Post, Trump and the first lady will be arriving in Pittsburgh early in the afternoon.
Bend the Arc, a progressive Jewish group, had written to Trump urging him to stay away. They wrote, “For the past three years your words and your policies have emboldened a growing white nationalist movement. You yourself called the murderer evil, but yesterday’s violence is the direct culmination of your influence.”
Mayor Peduto (D) felt that a visit would put a strain on security. He said, “We do not have enough public safety officials to provide enough protection at the funerals and to be able, at the same time, [to] draw attention away to a potential presidential visit.”
Finally, Chuck Diamond, former Rabbi at Tree of Life urged the president to give mourners space. Diamond remarked, “I would plead with the President to wait. I would also hope he would come in and offer his condolences after we have buried them and had a chance to mourn.
Trump has faced sharp criticism for his response to the massacre. He held a rally in Illinois hours after the tragedy. The visit to Pittsburgh may be seen as Trump trying to avert some of denunciation.
One mourning family has already rejected Trump’s offer to visit. Daniel Halle said it was due in part to Trump’s comments after the shooting. “Everybody feels they were inappropriate,” Halle said. “He was blaming the community.”
Joining Trump are the first lady, daughter Ivanka, and Jared Kusher. Mitch McConnell. Paul Ryan, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi turned down invitations out of respect for the wishes of Pittsburgh citizens.