'President Hate, Leave Our State' |

Pittsburgh Jews Give Trump a Furious Reception

Hundreds of protesters rallied outside the Tree of Life synagogue to demonstrate against Trump's rhetoric, holding signs reading 'Trump will lie about this too' and 'Ban assault rifles, be a leader'

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump exit Air Force One as they arrive in Pittsburgh, October 30, 2018
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump exit Air Force One as they arrive in Pittsburgh, October 30, 2018Credit: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump landed in Pittsburgh Tuesday to pay his respects to the Jewish community that lost 11 of its members on Saturday when a shooter opened fire on the Tree of Life congregation.

Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer joined Trump, First Lady Melania Trump and top White House officials as they landed in Pittsburgh.

A participant in the march in memory of the victims of the Pittsburgh shooting holds a sign that reads: 'President hate, leave our state' on October 30, 2018.Credit: \ CATHAL MCNAUGHTON/ REUTERS

While Dermer agreed to join the president, other big names in Washington turned down the honor – House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, House Majority and Minority Leaders Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority and Minority leaders Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, all turned down invitations.

A list of local officials, including Pittsburgh mayor, Bill Peduto, also declined their invitations to meet with the visiting president. The mayor had publicly advised the president to delay his visit so that the community’s attention could be focused on embracing the victims.

Is the United States still safe for Jews? Listen to Haaretz Weekly podcast

But the White House moved ahead with the plan to visit on Tuesday afternoon.

The Trumps, escorted by shooting survivor and rabbi of the synagogue Jeffrey Myers, walked in front of a row of makeshift memorials in front of the synagogue for each of the victims, decorated with a Star of David, as the president placed a small stone on each one.

The entourage also included first daughter and son-in-law and White House advisors Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.

To really understand Israel and the Jewish world - subscribe to Haaretz

Members of the community protest President Trump's visit in the wake of the synagogue shooting, Pittsburgh, October 30, 2018Credit: Amir Tibon

The U.S. president and his family lit candles for each of the victims in the synagogue vestibule.

Earlier in the day, Myers had said that while, in his view, the president should be "welcome" to pay his condolences, that he would not meet with him because he would be too busy with funeral arrangements for his congregants. In the end, however, Myers did choose to greet Trump, a decision that was applauded by some and condemned by others.

While Trump and his family lit candles in memory of the victims, thousands of people rallied outside to protest Trump's divisive rhetoric, which many in Pittsburgh believe contributed to a national climate of hate that gave rise to the attack.

Protesters held signs that read, "President Hate, Leave our state," "Words matter," "Ban assault rifles, Be a leader" and "Trump will lie about this too."

>> Pittsburgh massacre: Netanyahu's diplomats add insult to injury by defending Trump and implicating the left | Analysis

Members of Pittsburgh's Jewish community said earlier Tuesday that they would protest against Trump if he came to Pittsburgh. In an announcement for the protest to be held on Tuesday afternoon, organizers said, "President Trump, words have consequences."

Hundreds attending a rally against U.S. President Donald Trump as he pays his respects to the victims of the Pittsburgh shooting, October 30, 2018.Credit: Amir Tibon

"The gunman who tore apart our neighborhood believed your lies about the immigrant caravan in Mexico," the announcement read, referring to a group of migrants who are trekking through Mexico toward the United States. "He believed anti-semitic lies that Jews were funding the caravan."

The announcement also echoed an open letter from a group of local Jewish leaders who told Trump: "You are not welcome in Pittsburgh until you fully denounce white nationalism."

More than 43,000 people have signed the letter, organized and posted online by the Pittsburgh chapter of Bend the Arc, a Jewish organization opposed to what it calls "the immoral agenda of the Trump administration and the Republican Party."

Earlier Tuesday, the Jewish community buried the victims of Saturday's terror attack. Funerals were held for brothers David and Cecil Rosenthal as well as for Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN


Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer

Newly appointed Israeli ambassador to Chile, Gil Artzyeli, poses for a group picture alongside Rabbi Yonatan Szewkis, Chilean deputy Helia Molina and Gerardo Gorodischer, during a religious ceremony in a synagogue in Vina del Mar, Chile last week.

Chile Community Leaders 'Horrified' by Treatment of Israeli Envoy

Queen Elizabeth attends a ceremony at Windsor Castle, in June 2021.

Over 120 Countries, but Never Israel: Queen Elizabeth II's Unofficial Boycott