Hundreds gather outside Pittsburgh synagogue to protest Trump visit

October 31, 2018

 

Protests reveal deep divisions in the US over president’s responsibility for fomenting hatred


Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

 

Hundreds of people have gathered near the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh to protest the arrival of Donald Trump and his family as they came to pay tribute to the 11 Jewish worshippers killed in Saturday’s deadly shooting rampage.

The Washington Post notes that the First Family’s “hastily planned day trip” occurred despite Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and other local officials urging the President to delay his visit until after the dead had been buried.

A number of senior US officials, including the top four congressional leaders, were reportedly invited to accompany Trump on the trip to Pittsburgh, but all of them, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, had declined.

Protesters gathering near where Trump laid a wreath of roses from the White House garden were carrying signs bearing slogans such as “Words Matter”, “Strength through Unity”, “Watch Your Words” and “Hate does not work in our Neighbourhoods”.

Critics of the US president have accused him of “fomenting a surge in white nationalist and neo-Nazi activity through divisive rhetoric”, the BBC says, adding that more than 70,000 locals have signed an open letter saying that Trump was “not welcome” in the city unless he “fully denounces white nationalism”.

The alleged shooter, 46-year-old Robert Bowers, posted anti-Semitic hate speech and conspiracy theories online, and reportedly shouted “all Jews must die” before embarking on the 20-minute killing spree. He now faces the death penalty.

Source: The Week UK

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