Trump forces himself on grieving city that doesn't want him
He’s ignoring Pittsburgh community leaders who are begging him not to make things worse by visiting.
Civic leaders in Pittsburgh are making it clear they don’t want Trump to visit the grief-stricken city after this weekend’s deadly gun rampage at the Tree of Life synagogue — but Trump is ignoring their pleas for him to stay away.
Trump and a few family members are plowing right ahead with their plans to travel to Pittsburgh on Tuesday, just three days after the massacre. Congressional leaders from both parties have reportedly turned down Trump’s request that they appear with him in the city.
The gun rampage was carried out by a right-wing radical who yelled about wanting to kill Jews. The gunman was also enraged by conspiracy theories, promoted by Trump and Fox News, that smear a caravan of Honduran refugees migrating to the U.S. as a looming “invasion.”
“I do believe that it would be best to put the attention on the families this week, and if he [Trump] were to visit, choose a different time to be able to do it,” Pittsburgh’s mayor William Peduto told CNN, noting that the 11 victims from Saturday will be buried this week.
“Our focus as a city will be on the families and the outreach that they’ll need this week and the support that they’ll need to get through it.”
Peduto’s office reached out to the White House to make its concerns known about his visit, but Trump seems to have waved off those concerns.
The mayor also denounced the idea of arming houses of worship, which Trump suggested immediately following the Pittsburgh massacre. Trump implied that the Jewish victims were to blame for their own deaths because the synagogue didn’t have armed guards on site.
“Once you arm and have people in synagogues, in mosques, in churches, and schools, you start to have them in daycares,” Peduto told MSNBC. “We might as well move into a prison at that point because we’re living in a police state.”
The mayor is hardly alone in urging Trump to stay away this week.
Tree of Life’s former rabbi, Chuck Diamond, also wants Trump to call off his visit.
“I would plead with the president to wait,” said Diamond. “Any president that would come in, any president would be a distraction. And President Trump, he’s so divisive and there’s such strong feelings on all sides, it will be a distraction.”
Trump has recklessly ramped up his violent hate speech in recent weeks and days, and hasn’t stopped even after the deadly hate crime in Pittsburgh.
That’s another reason some Pittsburgh leaders say Trump isn’t welcome.
“Our Jewish community is not the only group you have targeted,” a group of progressive Jewish leaders wrote to Trump following the shooting. “You have also deliberately undermined the safety of people of color, Muslims, LGBTQ people, and people with disabilities. Yesterday’s massacre is not the first act of terror you incited against a minority group in our country.”
The people of Pittsburgh are mourning this week, and they don’t need Trump around to make things worse.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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