This past weekend, eleven people lost their lives to an anti-Semitic gunman at the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill community in Pittsburgh. President Donald Trump has not proven to be a force for change in the midst of the ensuing tumult — he’s the one who helped drive some of the rhetoric that inspired the shooter in the first place. Still, Monday, the White House announced that Trump would be visiting Pittsburgh on Tuesday, but city leaders including Mayor Bill Peduto and Coucilwoman Erika Strassberger came out strongly against the idea.
During an appearance Monday night on MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, she indicated that it wasn’t just her idea to oppose the visit, either. She said that she’d received messages from her constituents in the Squirrel Hill community itself asking her to work to stop the presidential visit. The dead aren’t even buried and yet, Trump wants to make sure to stick himself into the situation.
As Strassberger put it:
‘My first and only responsibility is to my constituents and frankly, I have heard loud and clear — both by email and by phone — from my constituents today and yesterday asking that I do everything possible to keep the president from coming to Pittsburgh while we are burying our dead. And I have to look out for them.’
She did note, though, that she does not know the exact positions on the matter held to by the affected Jewish congregations and families.
Strassberger continued by asserting that at present, although Trump may be seeking a conversation, the first priority of the affected community is support.
Ironically enough, she indicated, there might not even be a place for the president in the necessary conversations to follow this first week or so of mourning and community care, though.
After all, he’s stood before the world and asserted — with no legitimate evidence — that outside political interests are funding a migrant “caravan” making its way to the United States through Central America. The Pittsburgh shooter had this “invasion” in mind when he carried out his attack, apparently intending to murder Jews thanks to their support of refugees.
‘We need to come together eventually for real action… For a start, we need leaders in this country to lead with love and compassion. I know it sounds cheesy in this day and age in our society, but that’s what needs to happen… If we can’t look to the president to do that, then let’s look to other thought and elected leaders to do that.’
Indeed — President Trump has not indicated that he’s interested in becoming a model of “love and compassion.”
Pressed following a string of attempted bomb attacks on prominent Democratic leaders whether or not he would tone down his angry rhetoric, Trump quipped that he could tone it up.
In the time since, the White House has adamantly denied any links between presidential rhetoric and violence, and Trump has continued pushing his angry nonsense.
He tweeted Monday for instance, without evidence:
‘Many Gang Members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan heading to our Southern Border. Please go back, you will not be admitted into the United States unless you go through the legal process. This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!’
Featured Image via Screenshot from the Video